Tommie Barfield Elementary students celebrated the culmination of a year’s worth of original art and books with families at their annual Authors and Artists Night on Tuesday.
National author and speaker, Michael Patrick O’Neill, an underwater marine photographer conducted programs for students and signed copies of his books published under Batfish Books.
His presentations included slide shows, a demonstration of scuba equipment and underwater cameras. O’Neill’s mission is to encourage kids “to read and become involved with science and conservation.”
“Mr. O’Neill also spoke about the writing process and the importance of editing and re-editing for clarity and readability. He said he often takes hundreds of shots to get the perfect photo,” said Principal Jory Westberry.
Students were also inspired by mural artist, Tim Davis whose work is on exhibition at the Waterside studios at the Esplanade. They watched in awe as he painted an underwater reef scene on a blank wall across from the school cafeteria. A Naples resident artist, Davis has painted more than 250 murals since 1995.
Kathy Anderson, art teacher said that all students find talents in art and that it is her vocation to help them discover latent talent through the design and implementation of effective art lessons.
“I introduce students to all types of art and the skills and techniques needed to successfully produce art, like drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, collage, fiber arts and some jewelry design.
“Students are the artists. They create art in their own way while making assessments and judgments about what works best. Students create art from a wide variety of cultures and time periods to understand the relationship of art to culture and history. Art has recorded the history of man,” she said.
She said that many art lessons have their roots in science like sculpting insects with specific body parts. Art in social studies is seen as students create art with a reference to a specific period in history such as creating an amphora vase of ancient Greece, tomb wall art of ancient Egypt to the onion top dome buildings of Russia and the Ndebele houses found in Africa.
Michelle Robau’s kindergarten students studied sea creatures through books written by Eric Carle,
like “A House For Hermit Crab” and “Mr. Seahorse.” She said the children then created art work such as seahorses made from a collage of colorful tissue paper, hermit crabs whose shells were decorated with different sea creatures and ocean murals to which they added a variety of fish and other sea life.
“It really helped them to understand what a mural is and what Davis’ finished mural would look like. Kindergartners really learn best through the use of hands-on projects and learning through art is a wonderful way to motivate learners,” said Robau.
Third graders in Anne Fleming’s class choose and named superheroes endowed with powers to make the world a better place.
Some chose heroes able to rid the world of bullies and robbers, while others chose heroes who could eradicate pollution and animal cruelty. Students then designed masks to hide the identity of their fictitious heroes.
“The activity allowed students to use their imagination. hey were very proud of their work and learned that with hard work they could create a finished product that they will have forever. Parents were very pleased with their children’s books. It was a fantastic evening,” Fleming said.
Pam Baldwin’s fourth grade students focused on research and writing about topics of personal interest. She said they utilized research and study skills like locating information, skimming, questioning, note taking, drawing conclusions, organizing information, summarizing and more to conduct research.
“We drew conclusions about our questions based on the research we did and uncovered the evidence needed to support our stance on our topics. Afterwards, they began the writing process, reviewed and deliberated about the different literary genres and ways to use the research to write a book in a specific genre,” said Baldwin.
The result was creative books written with a flare of realistic science fiction, she said. The stories had true to life research interwoven throughout the story lines.
“This technique really gave the books a different slant from other things we have written this year. Integrating these two projects turned out to be a phenomenal learning experience that was fun, relevant, and meaningful to our every day studies,” she added.
Adding a touch of entertainment to the evening, music teacher, Lisa Braren’s third grade students and Morning Musicians vocal group presented “Make A Difference,” a program that took the school’s 3Rs (respect, role model, responsibility) and brought them to a “global level about being a good citizen and helping others,” she said.
“The tune discussed current events like tornados, tsunamis, and floods and asked listeners to have open hearts and compassion for others. The message is that our 3Rs are not only applicable at TBE, but also have meaning that will last throughout their lives. Our children are our future,” she said.
“The second graders did a song about insects that made learning fun. It combined facts, poetry, and music and makes the retention of facts and memorization easy since it is through music.”
The Morning Musicians then closed the evening with patriotic numbers reflecting the importance of being good citizens.