Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas Traditions

You all may have Christmas traditions like us. For example, our grandparents come to our house for a few days. We eat a feast of turkey, potatoes, corn, cucumber salad, etc. We give presents to each other. More traditions include putting reindeer food on the lawn and not looking at the presents until everyone is up from bed. Julie and I stay in bed and Dad goes out and gives us the scoop on the presents. We also take pictures of everybody.

My least favorite tradition is that I have to eat a green bean every holiday!


Personality Quirks

As a teacher, I often reflect on what and how I am teaching. (Yes, and sometimes, why!) The subject matter, the presentation, the mneumonics, etc. Sometimes I even focus on individual students, especially those who are needy because I can't help but be moved by their situations, their issues, and the promise that they would have if only given the chance to flourish. Interestingly enough, the other day I had a new reflection, which is sometimes shocking for a 15 1/2 year veteran of the profession. While this may seem obvious to some teachers, it strikes me that a class functions like a unit with respect to personality. Each class has a personality and character all its own. Add a student or subtract a student and the whole personality changes.

The strangest part of this to me is that in my mind I actually think of classes that I've taught over the years as if they are individual people, with individual personalities. There are classes that I have loved because they are sweet, hard working, and fun to be with. I recall a group of 10th graders that I taught last year as a unit that made me happy each and every time I entered their classroom. Years ago, I taught that wonderfully infamous class that Dawn Williams was in. That unit from 1992, I believe, was exotic. It had a style all its own, but was really special. Others classes I have despised because they have made my life miserable for an entire semester or year in some cases. Luckily those units have been few. (Although that 4th period Physical Science class from my first year of teaching high schoolers comes rushing back to memory as if it was about 45 minutes of stress a day!)

All in all I have truly loved the kids I have taught over the years. I always tell them that I will never remember their names but will always remember their faces. All those kids...thousands who have walked through my classroom door...the good and those who want to be good but don't know it. Individuals who make up a unit that is bigger than themselves. I am affected and changed a little bit by them each day...some more than others. I can only hope I do the same for them.


Abstract Art

You are walking through an art museum looking at different paintings. A painting in the corner grabs your attention. It doesn’t look like anything to you besides a blob of paint. You read the passage next to the painting wondering what this person was thinking when he or she painted it. There are different types of art even in the category of abstract art. The three things I will talk about are: cubism, expressionism, and modern abstract artists.

Cubism is a type of abstract art that was developed in the early 1900s. Pablo Picasso, a Spanish artist, and George Braque, a French artist developed cubism in 1907. This is a style of art that is not realistic. The objects in the paintings are drawn flat and have geometric shapes. These paintings might show more than one angle or view of an object. In cubism, the artist expresses his or her thoughts on certain objects. Cubist paintings may seem like blobs to us because the objects are randomly placed in the picture, but to the artist who made them, there is a meaning to the painting. If you study a painting, you can come up with your own meaning. Cubism is popular among young people. Cubism is a very interesting form of art if you have a taste for it.

Abstract expressionism is the second topic of abstract art that I will tell about. This form of art shows what the artist is thinking and feeling. It is usually made by spilling, spraying, or dripping paint on a canvas. It is not a realistic form of art. Jackson Pollock was one of the first major artists who painted in this style. He is known for his “action paintings” which he made by spilling and dripping paint on a large canvas that was fastened to the floor. This style of art started in the 1940s in New York City. Arshile Gorky and Hans Hofmann originally started abstract expressionism using shapes similar to animals with a lot of texture. Abstract expressionism is a style of abstract art that shows a lot of feeling.

There are many new and modern artists who are becoming popular. One of my personal favorite artists is a man named Joel E. Traylor, III. He is a new artist whose “images reflect an influence of Picasso, Klee, and Miro,” he says. One of my favorite paintings is called “Our Unwritten Morning.” It is a different picture to everyone who looks at it. In my opinion Joel E. Traylor will be popular in the future. There are many different abstract artists with different meanings behind their paintings.

There are different types of art even in the category of abstract art. Three main ideas that are important in abstract art are: cubism, expressionism, and modern abstract artists. You are walking through an art festival looking at different paintings when you see a cool, modern painting. It has bright colors and a squiggly design. Your parents spot it too and they decide to buy it because it matches your house décor. You decide that you love abstract art.


One Trumpeter "A-Trumpeting"

On December 12, I am going to have my first band concert. We will play 4 songs, and 2 people will do solos. The advanced band is playing 6 songs. I don't know who is playing the solos for the advanced band, but I do know who is doing the beginner band solos. Cristina is doing one and I am doing the other. I am playing "Lightly Row" and it is 24 notes. I hope I do well!