By Catherine Aiello, Arts in Education Specialist
“I’m starting with the inside because that’s where the babies will go and they’re the most important part,” explained Maia, as she shaped a ball of clay and began lining it with grasses, cotton and other soft materials. Students around the room echoed her concern for the eggs and baby birds. “These are tall sticks to keep predators out,” said Rowan, pointing to the “fence” he had constructed around the edge of his nest.
The students in Ms. Martinez and Ms. Vazquez’s K-2 classrooms at the Hurley school have spent the past month and a half learning about Animals and their Habitats, through a unit from the new Focus on K-2 curriculum in Boston Public Schools.
Both classrooms are participating in USES’ Children’s Art Centre’s Studio Arts In-School Residency program which ties visual arts to the core academic curriculum. In this lesson, which spanned two weeks, they had a chance to apply what they learned and know about birds to a design task. Students had a chance to sort through materials, making decisions about which ones would be good for building a nest, and which ones would not. They observed a real bird’s nest, noting the materials they saw in it- sticks, paper, strips of plastic and even broken eggshells! After watching a video of a robin constructing a nest and discussing it, students were ready to tackle the challenge of creating their own.
It was inspiring to watch each student dive right into the task of building a good nest for a bird. Everyone had a different system for creating their nest, some lining up sticks precisely, others wrapping grasses and strings around the inside and outside of their nests, others building fence-like structures around the edge. It was a great way for students to explore materials, articulate their thinking and practice new vocabulary.
Some of the nests are on display as part of the art show at the Hurley School along with the K-2 students’ fish and wolves projects and the 1st graders work form the fall and winter.
The Children’s Art Centre is in it’s second year providing integrated art classes at Hurley K-8. This partnership is made possible by a generous grant from the BPS Arts Expansion Fund, a multi-year initiative focused on access, equity and quality arts learning for BPS students. This winter the school will showcase the artistic talents of K2 and 1st graders with an art show, below are posters that explain each project.
(for clearer quality, click directly on the image)