Transitions commence new adventures. Make 'em last…
Last November, a few students and I started acquiring large rocks from a nearby mountainside and began installing them under the rainbow archway that we had constructed a few years ago. We were off to a good start, but cold weather, conflicting schedules, and winter vacation soon impeded our work. About 6-7 weeks ago I re-started the project with my new art group comprised of 3rd and 4th graders after I realized that they absolutely had no desire to make preparations and later construct a large art piece made of used Seoul Milk cartons, which I had spent the last two summers doing with previous art groups. Thus, I’m sorry to say that there will be no Seoul Milk carton project this year. However, when it came to working on the rock pathway, my new art group became very delighted and have been having a good time working on it during each weekly art class.
Each week several students take turns venturing up the nearby mountainside and collecting and hauling back suitable rocks to our work site. While the rock-searching members are in action, the others help to construct the rock pathway. Since all rocks differ in size and weight, dirt must be dug up and firmly packed around and underneath each rock while synchronously keeping all rocks at the same level. Lucky for us, the dirt in this specific area is loaded with clay, so once it hardens after being wet, it holds all rocks like cement.
It has been kind of a slow process since currently only about 40 minutes is dedicated to this project each week, however, the pathway is slowly getting more and more complete. Students are beginning to see their progress and getting excited about when it will be finished. Recently, I came upon a hidden rock quarry up amid the nearby mountain forest and have began to haul down much larger rocks that take up more space, but it takes double the effort. We all certainly get a workout with this kind of work.
This art class is my favorite class of the week. I absolutely love working with my hands, love it. I also just love being outside. I feel free. I don’t feel trapped in a classroom. My students appear to feel the same way. I’m very fortunate to have been given a teaching job to where I’ve just been simply allowed to start up many giant undertakings that continually motivate and help students to appreciate the variety of art and the sweat it takes to make something great. In addition, this all gives me so much joy.
With the school semester ending soon, I normally teach less classes during the last two weeks, thus, I plan to have my students and I put in some solid hours on this project before semester’s end. Let’s hope for consistent sunny weather this month!