First Day Reflections








Today was the first day of the YCBA Summer Institute for teachers. As in any classroom on the first day, we began tentatively, looking for familiar faces and settling into listening mode when Tom and Cyra got us started. As we broke into groups, and got into the deeper thinking that happens when we talk about art, we inevitably began to know each other as teachers, learners, thinkers, observers. And in the afternoon when we drew and made our own art, we started a community which will be ours for the week.


I am always struck by the trust and comfort that emerges when art is at the center of a group of people. My son likes to go to jazz clubs in New York because he says no matter who everyone is outside of that club, they are all friends while the music is playing: the common language of jazz brings them together and  forms their community. When I watch a group of students gather around a painting or sculpture – even a reproduction – there is a similar intimacy that comes over them. They may all have their differing opinions and translations of the art, but they are brought together by one image.


As we continue this week, I wonder if any of you have thoughts about how to use art to create your classroom community. How could art start your year in September? How can you include visuals to ground your students in safety, so they can think deeply and share courageously? What can you bring into the room? How will you show them how to do it?



3 thoughts on “First Day Reflections

  1. I’m unable to be there this week (still in school!) but had to respond … I’m looping with my class and art is what brought us together as a communicating, respectful “Crew” and taught us to speak freely and listen carefully. My kids left me on Monday after ‘graduating’ and excitedly took home nearly full sketchbooks with the knowledge that when they return as 1st graders they will have new ones. They can’t wait. Art, respectful conversation, story-making, and observation is what will bring us back and ground us, unify us in the endeavor to learn and trust together. And they know too that next year we are going on an adventure – to the museum for the first time – they are so excited!

    1. Daron, I cannot wait to come visit your classroom again! Same kids and your focus on using visual literacy…that will be something to see!

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