Sounds of Spring

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As spring was approaching my kindergarten classes wanted to do something where we could create the sounds of spring.  So we brainstormed the sounds and decided to draw “spring sounds” first then try to create the sounds.  From their ideas I created a template for them to use which had lightning, frogs, birds, trees etc. and they used this to draw their “Sounds of Spring” picture on tracing paper.  This way they could spend more time creating the scene and not worry about the detail of the shapes.  I also made a couple of samples to provide some ideas in addition to providing actual pictures of the sounds we were trying to create.  After they spent about 20 minutes working on their drawings we chose one to attach the sounds to.  Since we chose a rain storm scene the students picked our shakers for rain, and a drum & symbol for thunder.  Here is our process with the final creation, in video format, at the end.







The video can be found at the link below…


Instrument Bingo

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This week we played instrument bingo.  It’s a simple game where kids listen to sound clips of instruments, online, then put the bingo chip on the game card covering the instrument they think makes that sound.

The game cards can easily be created on word using clip art from Google images.  It does take a little time to actually make the cards.  The simplest way is to print out the game cards on full sheet label paper then adhere them to really heavy card stock.  The bingo chips are actually poker chips.

For the sound clips I used:

I drew instrument names randomly and then pulled up the sound on one of the two web sites.  It was almost as quick as using a bingo machine.

It was a great activity for assessing instrument awareness and sound connections.  The kids really enjoyed it.



Singing Around The Campfire

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This past we I decided to bring the outdoors inside and sing some campfire songs with my kindergarten classes.  We made it authentic with an artificial campfire complete with real logs.

We sang: Down By The Bay, Herman The Worm, Boom Chicka Boom, Bear Hunt, and five little ducks. It was a great activity as many of the kids have never experience camping before.  Everyone took turns leading the songs and providing suggestions for the various actions of each songs.

The campfire was relatively simple to make.  First take some long sticks, approx 30cm., and build a cone frame.  But, make sure you build it so that a light source can fit inside.  I used a flashlight lantern.  You will also need to decide how to support your cone.  I put my cone frame on a piece of cardboard and cut a hole in the bottom so it could all fit over the flashlight.  A lantern type of flashlight works best as the light comes from the sides and not the top.  Finally, you will need some logs to go around it.  I used some real logs which you can get from a farm or friend with a real fireplace.  Don’t forget to turn the lights off when you are singing.  The only downside is that you can’t cook marshmallows or hot dogs on it.





Personal Creativity A Gateway To The World

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(This article was published in the Windsor Star on March 1, 2016)

When Lance Bucknor stepped hesitantly through the front door of Toronto’s SKETCH arts studio he hadn’t finished high school and was living in a shelter. At 22, he was hoping the arts program for homeless youth would offer a creative outlet to vent his angst. What he found was an opportunity and the tools to turn this life around.

One year later, Bucknor is teaching creative writing workshops at SKETCH and making connections with schools and community centres.

Through SKETCH and similar programs, we’ve seen that art is a gateway to everything a troubled young person needs, from gaining life skills and a much-needed sense of community, to finding mentorship and forging networks needed to find a job or start a business.

Most importantly, art is what brings marginalized, hard-to-reach youth through the door in the first place.

The teen years and 20s are a precarious life stage when identity and direction are in flux, says SKETCH staffer Hayley Hoskins. Some 30,000 young Canadians, ages 16 to 24, are homeless at any given time.

If you’re young and also dealing with abuse, addiction, a broken family or mental illness, finding your way istough.

Art is an accessible way to confront those seemingly impossible challenges. Through painting, music or dance, young people can express themselves in ways they may never do on a couch with a counsellor.

That was the premise behind SKETCH, founded by local theatre actor Phyllis Novak, 20 years ago in a storefront in downtown Toronto. It’s now housed in an abandoned elementary school, with studios for visual and performing arts.

Courses include mentoring in business skills and culinary arts. There’s a recording studio funded by Canadian music legend, Gary Slaight, regular exhibits and vending opportunities, and youth have the opportunity to connect with local artistic mentors like Kevin Drew from the famed indie rock band Broken Social Scene.

The program welcomes 850 marginalized young people a year, ages 16 to 29, from anywhere in Canada, on a drop-in basis or in its 10-week workshops.

Other projects also use art as empowerment for youth living on the margins. Creative Life mentors vulnerable young people in East Vancouver through its youth-led art shows, drop-in sessions and meals.

SKETCH’s Hoskins cites a study of homeless youth by art therapy professor Janice Hoshino from Seattle’s Antioch University. Hoshino says the creative process of exploring past trials and future options through art, builds stronger coping skills, self-control and problem-solving skills.

University of Oregon emeritus education professor, Robert Sylwester, has long linked creativity to higher levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that boosts self-confidence while curbing impulsivity.

Success stories out of SKETCH abound. One young man came for the recording studio but discovered a passion for food while volunteering in the kitchen. Now he’s a full-time cook.

In addition to giving youth a healthy dose of empowerment, SKETCH refers more than 200 young people a year, to local housing, career and mental-health services. For these individuals, art truly is a door to start a better future.

Brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger founded a platform for social change that includes the international charity Free The Children, the social enterprise Me to We and the youth empowerment movement We Day.