Deep Diving into the Arts

by Michael Porter
Our JCDS students have capped off their academic studies in areas as diverse as the Rainforest, Greek Mythology, Habitats in Nature, and Mesoamerican civilizations with some exciting arts projects during their most recent Deep Dives.
"First grade has been immersed in the rainforest!" said First Grade Teacher Lauren Ellis. "This cross-curricular study has truly opened their eyes to discovering that the world is a bigger place, and we all have an important role to play in it."
In addition to the wonderful decorations in their classrooms, the first graders recently visited the Jacksonville Zoo to learn more about some of the animals that live in the rainforest.

"To wrap it all up, students presented Singing in the RainForest! First graders transformed into toucans, blue morpho butterflies, and red-eyed tree frogs," said First Grade Teacher Kathy Thompson.
The musical performance Singing in the Rainforest cleverly combined facts about the environment along with live sound effects, instrumental performances, and singing.
"The students really took ownership and interest in this show due to its connection with their rainforest studies," said Music Specialist Jessica Barker. "They study the material in class, craft their own costume accessories to wear on stage, and bring the songs to life through instrument playing, movement, and singing."
An enthusiastic throng of parents, siblings, and 5th grade buddies attended the live performance.
"I loved it," said first grader Ellis C. "There were 200 in the audience!"
The lessons about the rainforest will be permanently impressed into the minds of our first graders.
"It is truly a capstone project and a lot of fun to put together," said Ms. Barker. "I am so proud of the perseverance the students demonstrated through our rehearsals and the energy and confidence they displayed on stage."

2D and 3D Art
Art Specialist Alli Flores worked with third graders during Deep Dive with three varying projects that reflected work they did in their academic classes.
During the year students learn about habitats and in art they created clay birds in nests. First, Ms. Flores introduced students to different birds that make nests and practiced drawing birds. Next they created a plan/sketch for their bird in clay sculptures.
Students used modeling techniques to form their bird shape from a lump of clay. They used another piece of clay to create a pinch pot for the nest. A clay extruder was used to create the “twigs” that were on top of the pinch pot nest to add texture and visual interest. These adorable birds were then glazed and fired.

Students also learned about the different areas of the United states. In Art, they discussed the plants and colors of the earth of the Grand Canyon to include within our paintings. Students discussed the plateaus and how they could draw them to show perspective to make them look realistic. They painted with tempera paint and later added oil pastel for texture and details. 
Finally, students learned about the artist Georgia O'Keeffe and her Southwest inspired paintings. Georgia was inspired by the beauty of the southwest to paint cow skulls with dreamy backgrounds. She collected bones she found in the desert to use in her art. She believed the bones were symbols of beauty, not death. Students incorporated traditional southwest patterns and designs in the background of their paintings.