The Green Gallery

Second Grade “Mother’s Day Portraits”

The second graders honored their mothers with a special Mother’s Day breakfast.  In preparation of the day, the students had painted portraits of their mothers and wrote a brief tribute on paper butterflies that explained what makes their mothers so special to them.  On the morning of the breakfast,  the children began by serving their mothers fresh fruit, bagels, and juice.  While everyone dined, the second graders took turns reading their tributes.  Finally, the mothers were asked to try and find their portrait amongst all the ones hanging on the walls.  It was great fun to see the mothers trying to find their child’s art work!

The Green Gallery

Sixth Grade “Mesopotamia”

During their Mesopotamia unit, the sixth graders designed and created their own cylinder seals. Cylinder seals are small spool-shaped objects used in the ancient Near East to mark ownership. Since writing had not been invented yet, this is how people signed or endorsed a document. They were usually made of stone and carved with designs that appear raised when rolled over wet clay. Cylinder seals were also worn as pendants or bracelets as amulets. They were first made about the time that writing was invented (3500 B.C.E.) and continued to be made up to about 500 B.C.E. Thousands of cylinder seals have survived because they were made of strong materials – usually stone, but also shell, bone, ivory, glass, and metal. While these sixth grade clay seals may not stand the test of time like those made of bone and ivory from 3500 B.C.E., this class certainly designed thoughtful and creative seals to leave their mark.

The Green Gallery

First Grade “Night”

Ask any first grader what happens when the sun goes down, and they can give you an array of answers. They might tell you all about who works at night, and thanks to one of the first grade parents, they know what the night shift of an EMT might be like. Point up to the sky, and you will be versed on the constellations that can be seen on a New England winter night. Thanks to two traveling stuffed animals, they could tell you what you may find creeping around your backyard at night. Throughout the unit of study, Bandita the raccoon and Batilda the bat traveled to each first grader’s house to play, read books about nocturnal animals, and journaled about the day’s adventures. There is no doubt that Glen Urquhart’s first graders know what is happening at night – in their neighborhood, in the sky or in the woods. Below are the photographs of each student’s house that was a part of the night neighborhood scene they all helped to create.

The Green Gallery

Fifth Grade “Earthquake Houses”

Culminating their study of plate tectonics, fifth graders worked with a partner to design and build their own earthquake-resistant structures. Adding to the challenge, students were faced with some building restrictions. The structures had to be at least ten inches tall, include two floors that could hold a 25 gram sandbag, and the base could not exceed an 8 x 8 plot of “land.” After drafting a blueprint, students “purchased” the requisite supplies of Elmer’s glue and craft sticks with their $500,000 budget. When all the structures were complete, it was time for the anticipated “Testing Day.” With great trepidation, students carefully positioned their buildings onto the earthquake simulator. For 30 seconds, students watched with bated breath hoping they built structures with enough fortitude to withstand the earthquake’s destructive wave. The photos below are an indication that not only did all the structures survive “Testing Day,” but that there are also some budding engineers in our fifth grade!

The Green Gallery

Fourth Grade “Lighthouses”

The model lighthouses below represent one component of a larger study of the sea done in the fourth grade. They learn the oceanographic and social aspects of the world’s oceans, with a special emphasis on the Gulf of Maine. Students explore the numerous facets of ocean life and among them, lighthouses. While reading the biography of Abbie Burgess, the students gain an understanding of the awesome responsibilities a lighthouse keeper bestows. After reading the biography, students create a model lighthouse using materials of their choice. Behind these artful creations are research about why the lighthouse was built and the stories of the keepers. With so much accumulated knowledge on the sea, the fourth graders will certainly be sea-worthy for their three day expedition this spring aboard the Joseph Conrad in Mystic, Connecticut!

The Green Gallery

Kindergarten “Self-Portraits”

“Faces are the most interesting things we see; other people fascinate me, and the most interesting aspect of other people – the point where we go inside them – is the face. It tells all.” David Hockney

In kindergarten children begin to develop a sense of self and discover who they are as learners. They become contributing group members and, by doing so, are valued for their unique qualities. Kindergarteners’ first art project at Glen Urquhart is the self-portrait. These self-portraits mark the beginning of this exploration of self. Midway through the year, they create another self-portrait, this time full body.

Kindergarten art is about exposure, observation and confidence building. Exposing the children to a variety of art and providing the opportunity to use an array of materials and techniques in the classroom helps build a solid foundation of skills. Through a broad introduction, the children grow confident and are encouraged to experiment, explore and manipulate different techniques and styles of art. It is a lively endeavor into art, no doubt.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Pablo Picasso

The Green Gallery

Eighth Grade “Calacas”

The Mexican festival of DÌa de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is one with very ancient roots.  During the pre-Hispanic era, there were very elaborate rituals concerning the life-death cycle.  Today, the DÌa de los Muertos is celebrated each year on November 1st and 2nd.  These are days dedicated to the memory of loved ones who have passed away.  A flurry of special preparations precede the holiday: favorite foods are prepared, breads are baked, crafts are made, and flowers are gathered.  People flock to the cemeteries to clean the graves, while at home, beautiful ofrendas or home altars are constructed to remember and welcome family members and friends who have died.  The Day of the Dead is celebrated with a mixture of reverence for the departed and revelry to show thanks for life.

At Glen Urquhart, students create a variety of Mexican-inspired crafts to place on our school ofrenda: sugar skulls, God’s eyes, tin milagros, dancing skeleton figures, paper cempasuchil flowers, masks, and much more. In Spanish classes, students enjoy traditional hot chocolate and pan de muertos (a sweet bread of the holiday), while sharing stories of loved ones (family, friends, and pets) whom they have lost. Students place photographs of the people they wish to honor, as together we celebrate those who have brought joy to our lives and made us who we are. Our Glen Urquhart ofrenda is a loving reminder of people we wish to remember in our community.

The eighth graders made traditional calaca boxes, miniature scenes of skeletons involved in everyday life. These joyous boxes remind us to live life fully, to appreciate each precious day of our lives.