Block 3 – How We Express Ourselves- Communicating Through The Arts

For this block, our class started with the following statement:

When we express ourselves, we communicate thoughts, ideas, and feelings.

We needed to learn what the words “express” and “communicate” mean. As we talked about what we thought they meant, we came a little closer to the actual definitions that Mrs. Baldwin read to us. Then we made a list of all the different ways we could think of to express our thoughts, ideas, and feelings:

  • talking
  • facial expressions
  • body language
  • writing/telling stories
  • drawing
  • playing
  • dancing
  • singing
  • acting
  • painting
  • sculpting
  • building/making

As we discussed our list, we noticed a lot of the forms of expression can be found in the Arts! From that list, we made three categories: Performing Arts (singing, dancing, acting), Visual Arts (drawing, painting, sculpting, building/making), and Composing (writing/telling stories, composing songs/music, writing a play).

We all were interested in artists and how they create different types of art. We studied some painters first. We like that some painters create a painting with objects we recognize, but we noticed some painters seem like they aren’t really painting anything at all. There are a lot of colors and sometimes shapes or lines, but nothing we can really look at and describe as something we recognize. We did some research and learned that this type of art is called “abstract.” We decided we wanted to create some of our own abstract art.

We thought about how different colors and shapes can be combined to express and idea or feeling, even if we didn’t actually draw things that make us happy, sad, confused, or peaceful.

As we moved closer to the holidays, we started looking at how people express themselves differently in winter holidays. We watched videos about Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Diwali. As we learned about holiday celebrations, we noticed there were a lot of common themes: family time, gifts, and food.

One of us asked, “how can we express ourselves with food?” NK said that people can express themselves through food choices. When we thought about how food is made, some of us thought that chefs can be artists with how they serve food. We learned that it’s called “plating.” We also saw some pictures of coffee art – when baristas pour cream into a coffee cup, they can make hearts, leaves, and other objects. When we thought about why they do art in coffee, some of us said that it’s a way to show creativity. Others thought that maybe baristas make coffee art to get customers to smile and be happy.

For the rest of block 3, we thought like artists. We like to be artists ALL the time, not only during certain blocks, but we focused a lot on different styles of art. We toured a local studio called Hot Pots. We didn’t get to sculpt our own pots, but we chose some cups that we were able to paint any way we wanted. We painted, we drew, we wrote stories and songs… so many different ways to express ourselves!

Expressing Ourselves at The Poetry Cafe

In this block, we have been learning about the many ways that we choose to express ourselves. Our class has looked at music, art, writing, speaking, performing… so many options! We have created self-portraits and have begun to write our own songs.

In the last few weeks, however, we have been learning about poets and how they express themselves in writing poetry. Poetry can be funny, beautiful, sad, light-hearted, or dark, and it can break the rules of writing. We especially loved the freedom we found in writing our own poetry.

One of the things we noticed about writing poetry is that we really had to think differently about word choice. For example, if we wrote about a “large bear,” the image wasn’t as vivid as writing about an “enormous black bear” or a “massive grizzly.” One of our favorite tools we used was our dictionary app that has a great list of synonyms. We also learned about a tool called a “thesaurus.” This lists synonyms for the words we look up!

As an additional means of adding expression, our class partnered with Mrs. Weissman’s class to hold a Poetry Café. We set up the café with round tables and chairs and served tea and cookies to our guests. The Poetry Café provided us an opportunity to recite our poetry for an audience. We wrote haiku, limericks, and free verse and also created some art work to accompany our poetry.

Some of us were really excited to go up on stage and share our poetry and art work, but most of us were really nervous! Mrs. Baldwin and Mrs. Weissman had talked to us before about speaking slowly and projecting our voices, but that’s pretty difficult when you’re voice starts to get a little shaky. It was a good experience, and we all did such a great job.

Mrs. Baldwin’s note: I am extremely proud of all our students in both classes! Not only did they face their fears of speaking in front of an audience, their poetry was filled with incredible imagery, description, and some very clever humor! 

Please read our individual posts about our Poetry Cafe (see student links in the sidebar). Thank you!