19 February 2014

Take Flight: A Brief Interview With One of My Second Graders . . .

A few months ago--I think it was around October--I started noticing that one of my second graders was filling up his sketchbook with planes. I would give the class a word to draw during their 10-minute drawing, and he would somehow skew it so that the result was always a plane. The planes would vary, but the drawing was always a plane. 

The planes might be flying, landing, taking off, or sitting on the runway. They would often hold a popular airline's logo of some sort: Qantas, Malaysia Airlines, British Airways, KLM, or Singapore Airlines. Rarely would they be colored in, but always meticulously drawn in pencil with lots and lots of detail.

I also enjoy flying. It's probably one of my most favorite things to do that doesn't involve me. I've mentioned this before: it's sort of a forced relaxation where I can sit above the clouds and think. No stress. So I was completely drawn to his playful obsession. 

A few weeks ago, I wrote an email to his parents and asked them if I could interview him for my blog. I told them that I was interested in asking him some questions about his love for planes. They discussed this possibility as a family and decided it would be okay as long as I protected his name and whatever else he felt was important. This is the first in what I hope will be a bi-monthly series: interviewing students about their work, their creative choices. 

I've always been fascinated with children's drawings (mine included). Students give me pictures all the time and I keep them. I have a growing collection, some of them are 10 or more years old. I have them hanging in my house. I even have a triptych that I made for my dad when I was 4. In fact, I found the drawings when I was in his library and going through some books. They just fell out of the book into my hands. And they are beautiful. 

All student drawings are beautiful. The lines are fragile and wiggly. The colors are specific and chosen not because they are necessarily the best choice, but because at that moment in time they are the student's most favorite colors--they identify with them personally and emotionally. 

This is why I have chosen my first interview candidate. He is making very particular choices about the work he is creating. He is growing a passion, and setting up what will surely be an adventurous life for himself. So without further ado, I present a brief question and answer session with a lovely little second grader named "L".

How old are you? 8. I was born in 2005.

Where are you from? Brisbane, Australia

Why are you interested in planes? Because I--um--was interested in flying.

When was the first time you ever went on a plane? I was 3.

Did you immediately like the plane ride? Yes.

Did your parents notice this? Yes.

Do you go on planes a lot now? Quite a lot. Yes.

What's your favorite thing about planes? The different airlines.

Where's your favorite place to sit? I like to sit near the window, in an emergency row . . . Because if there is an emergency, we can get out. Also the back, and the cockpit. 

Why? Because my friend is cabin crew and he said it's more safe to sit at the back. He's part of the Qantas team.

What is your favorite airlines? Malaysia Airlines.

Why? The cabin crew is very nice.

Do you like turbulence? A tiny bit. But if you are eating a meal, it will go everywhere.

Do you like landing or take off better? Touch down is my favorite.

Why? Because you are arriving somewhere new. 

Why do you draw planes? When I grow up, I'm planning myself an airline. 

You mean you want to own one? Yeah.

So do you want to be a pilot? Yes.

Have you ever been in the cockpit? Only once. The captain asked if we would like to go in the cockpit.

Have you ever been on a runway, but not in an airplane? Only at the Gold Coast Airport, we walked around on the runways.

How many countries have you been to? Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, and Singapore.

He brought in several drawings to show me. Most of them were designs for the airline he is hoping to start and manage, later on in life. But he kindly told me to erase all signs of the logo and brand name he is planning on using. So I photographed them the best I could, smudging out logos and brand names. Some of the drawings were on sheets of paper that were the same length as he is tall: giant planes with giant internal seating maps. Incredible, I tell you.

Do you have any questions for "L"? If so, please leave them in the comments below.

I find it only appropriate to end this post with one of my favorite music videos from many moons ago . . . A video featuring--what else--planes. Enjoy!

13 February 2014

Happy Valentine's Day: Je T'aime . . .

Um. I kind of loathe Valentine's Day. I'm not against love or anything, just against specific days that we are supposed to show said love. I mean it's kind of lame, if you want my honest opinion. I think this is actually quite hilarious because throughout my life, I've worked in industries that were completely focused on this "holiday". 

I worked as a florist for 3 years, both in Austin, TX and Medford, WI. And to this date, it still remains to be one of my most favorite jobs I've ever had. Florists are fun and odd people to be around, so I fit in perfectly. And Valentine's Day is basically a flower shop's yearly moneymaker. Hours were insane, sometimes we would work until 2 or 3 in the morning to get all of the arrangements ready for full weeks leading up to the big day. Lines were generally out the door, but people were kind during this holiday as opposed to the craziness that sometimes accompanies gift-buying during the Christmas holidays. And there was always an open bottle of champagne somewhere in the shop during the season, which I thought was great.    

I'm also an art educator. And I teach little people. Little people LOVE Valentine's Day. They draw hearts on everything throughout the year, so when a holiday comes around that actually celebrates hearts, it really works . . . You know? 

I also happen to love pink. And red. And hearts. Anyone who has ever seen my artwork or visited my house knows this. Of course, I always couple pink and red with orange which magically brightens everything. And I have a big ol' habit of signing things--yearbooks, emails, what have you's--with XOXO. (If you have ever received a Christmas card from me, it always ends with a professionally printed "XOXO, Lindsey".) This way of signing things started millions of years ago . . . 

So one would think that I would naturally be inclined to support this holiday. I guess I do, but only in the non-romantic/non-cheesy way. It's just not that big of a deal to me (although I have been known to dress up my dog for V-day). Most of the years that I have actually celebrated Valentine's Day, I spent it with my best friend Emma drinking wine and decorating crazy wooden things

Maybe I secretly LOVE Valentine's Day and I just play like I hate it, just for show??!! Perhaps.

Whatever . . . All I know is that I want to share some beautiful and hilarious things I found on Instagram to help ring in the day, and show you some of the fun activities we did with our students. So take a look below and enjoy your day of LOVE. 

I'll start with my sister. She's always really good at sending me pictures of my nephews each year in February, see below. (This year's picture hasn't arrived yet, but hopefully by tomorrow . . . )



And here's the two images I found on her Instagram . . . 


Then there are the smattering of creative people that I follow, most of whom are from Australia. I loved seeing all of the following inspiring and colorful images in my feed . . . Credit given below the images: follow them, follow them!

Regram on Folklorica . . . Love to Infinity!! 

A paper flower tutorial by Ruchi Goswami, featured on Design Sponge

At school, we were doing tile painting for the week in my classroom. So in Tanya's room, we set up 3 stations: a Valentine's making station, a watercolor station, and a playdough/Valentine-banner-making station. 

One of the KG2 students created her preliminary drawing for her tile out of a million tiny watercolored hearts . . . 

We had these really cool felt hearts in pink, red, white, and pink leopard print (see above) that we put out on the Valentine's making station. One of the girls in my class made a card for her mother that said the following . . . 

And today--for one of Tanya's short classes, she painted all of the students' feet and printed their feet with their heels together so that it made a heart. Then she had the kids decorate the outside heart shape with glitter. 

Last week, my students were finishing up their party hats and two of the girls decided to make Valentine party hats . . . 

I'll end with this list of 21 Awkward Valentine's Day Cards For Your Confusing Modern Relationship from Huffington Post, of which my favorite is: "I love you like Kanye loves Kanye." Laughing for days over these, people. Days!

XOXO! Smooch . . . Kiss the next person you see right smack dab on the word hole.