Today I brought 43- 4th grade students to the Frist Center in downtown Nashville. Now some background information on my students....
Shwab Elementary is what you would call a neighborhood school. Nearly all the students live close enough to walk to school, we only have one school bus that few students ride. Many of the kids haven't ever been out of the neighborhood. The Frist is less than 15 minutes away from the school and as one of the other teachers put it, taking our students downtown is as equally exciting as if we were to bring them to NYC! And it was! The students were OOOoooing and AAhhhing all throughout the drive to the museum.
At the beginning of the school year, students have been studying and creating their very own Dale Chihuly artworks. I can't think of anything more thrilling for the students then to see the Chihuly artworks in person! Needless to say it was an incredible gift that I was able to arrange for my students, and they gave me the gift of smiles, thank yous, and hugs.
Even better was hearing from the other chaperones about the students reaction to the Birth of Impressionism. During the tour, my students were making comments like "Ms. Motta showed us that," "that's a landscape, "that's a portrait," "that's a still life." I was very proud to hear that they were also asking great questions and were very respectful of the docents who were leading the tours. Of course I heard that the boys giggled at the nude paintings that were hanging that they walked passed, but I mean they are after all only 4th graders!
Upstairs felt magical. I have viewed this particular Dale Chihuly exhibit somewhere between a half dozen and a dozen times myself, but being with groups of my students who have focused so much on him, viewing it for the first time- was almost like seeing it for the first time again for me too! The students were amazed at how the "drawings" by Chihuly appeared to still be wet, the size of the Macchia, and were excited to sketch from the Ikebana. What cracked me up though, was their amazement at the Hotshop video, even though they had already viewed it a month ago! I have a feeling that I may have to show the students the video again now that they have seen the work in person.
All and all, the bad kids of Shwab Elementary turned out to have a good side, and they all made me a very proud teacher today! Today was the best day since I started there, and I really truly loved every minute of my job today! One of my students said today, after hearing that I am going to Chihuly's studio during this coming NAEA conference, that he wanted to be me. - I certainly love being an art teacher!