New Visitor’s…Please read the two paragraphs at the end of this column before beginning your explorations in theater, poetry, children’s literature, movies, television, books, and the Arts. It will say New Visitor’s Greeting and be in boldface.
Check out my educational website at aimtjp.wikispaces.com if you have any teachers or children in the family. There is a ton of immediately ready to use ideas in reading, children’s literature, Internet explorations, and poetry on the opening screen and in the Public Dropbox.
Art On A Sunday I…Sunday dinner in Brooklyn was a family tradition where everyone joined in with memorable eats, stories of the week, and laughter. Dinner was, of course, preceded with church and Monsignor Choffey screaming for the ushers to close the church doors at the conclusion of mass; because there are two groups of dodgers in Brooklyn; the Brooklyn Dodgers and the last collection dodgers.
Now in Philadelphia, a third piece has been added to that family tradition. The day includes church, a visit to an art museum, and Sunday dinner. The museums in Philadelphia are free on Sunday morning until twelve. In addition to family, my graduate classes are frequent visitors to the free program and guided tours offered at all the museums, especially at the Philadelphia Art Museum.
Artwork information from the museum is, then, taken back to the classroom to be integrated with poetry, creative writing, the study of illustrators, and historical connections. Students from the lower grades pick their favorite pictures and drawings and write words that come to mind around the picture. The upper grades take two pictures, write a quatrain about each to be put in a PowerPoint. We combine these small PowerPoints into a giant class PowerPoint. The bigger presentation is shared with other class sections and archived for next year’s classes. Here are two of my samples for the students to model.
The Drawing Hands by M. C. Escher
This truly is The Amazing Race,
How will we know they’re done?
When we wager on a winner,
How will we know who won,
Still Life By Frank W. Benson
Still life just sits there,
So how can I comment about fruit, flowers, and pearls.
I need action,
Bring on the Swashbucklers, Pirates, and Earls.
Art On A Sunday II…How do you embrace art when you are hundreds of miles from your nearest museum? It is a good question for Google and Bing. They did not have an answer. Here is mine.
- Every museum and art gallery has a feed reader or news aggregator that will send you updates to the museum’s collections through your email address. Check out how The Philadelphia Art Museum does this. Drop them your email and they will drop an amazing world of art into your lap.
- If you have Apple Television or a similar program you can bring museums up from around the world on your computer and stream them to your sixty-inch television screen. You can have a family art show before dinner and discuss family likes and dislikes at dinner.
- Visit www.artcyclopedia.com. It has the original paintings of the masters and in what museum you can visit with your mouse to view your favorite works of art. It is almost like Where in the World is Carmen Degas’ Ballerinas.
- There are a number of free university apps that have lessons on a period of art as well as artists across all categories. Every other study area (history, science, astronomy, politics) is also included in your possible selections. These can be put on your iPhone, iPad, or computer.
- Some museums have audio tours of their collections. The painting appears and an expert discusses it with you.
- If you bring the chocolate chip cookies, you are welcome to join us at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The National Gallery of Art in Washington, The New York Museum of Art, or the Boca Museum of Art. Boca’s recent double exhibition of Mary Cassett and M. C. Escher was remarkable.
Art On A Sunday III…Next Sunday we will talk about some of my favorites…Henry Ossawa Tanner, Joseph Dryer, Jr., Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, and Winslow Homer. Send me a tidbit about your favorites and I will include them in next week’s column.
Children’s Literature…Magical Changes by Graham Oakley falls right in step with our “Art On A Sunday” theme. Oakley’s Magical Changes is the ultimate flip-book. The book is a great art developer, a great idea starter, and an awesome creative mind enhancer. There has never been anything in art like this book. Every top page and bottom page in the book matches with every top and bottom page throughout the whole book. Page one’s top will match the bottoms of pages 1-20. Page three’s bottom will match every top page. You have to purchase this book to join the realm of ‘seeing is believing.’ After you find the match that suits your eye, you are encouraged to write an original story describing the picture that you have just creative with the help of Graham Oakley’s magical drawings. This book is a must own for every creative teacher’s library. Art teachers will go bonkers over this book as students try to create a similar flipbook with very little success. By the way, was ‘bonkers’ the best word in this instance?
Children’s Literature II…The Temptation of Wilfred Malachey by William Buckley, Jr. is a can’t put down, computer based, mystery. This is the same William Buckley, Jr. that wrote sophisticated columns for The New Yorker Magazine and frequently appeared on television with his political comments. The book follows a young boy, new to a private academy, as he tries to solve the mystery of missing students. He was admitted to the Academy on a scholarship and as a replacement to one of the missing boys. Sitting in the computer lab, a message pops up in his computer playfully chiding him about his basketball skills. He thinks it is one of the girls in class fooling with him. The girl (?) asks him: if he is helped to victory will he give her one wish. It is almost like the devil asking Dr. Faust to give up his soul. What would we all do in such a situation? The boy finds that computers are trying to take over the minds of the academy’s students. Malachey has no weapons or ideas on how to stop the takeover. This book is a great read and even greater in the discussion of the advancing sphere of technology. Wilfred Malachey’s problem stirs every reader’s critical thinking and creative problem solving genes.
Children’s Literature III…Jump Back Honey by Paul Lawrence Dunbar presents a perfectly illustrated collection of Paul Lawrence Dunbar’s poems. It is a perfect model for classes directed to select and illustrate a poem for recitation. The illustrated poems collected from your class or writing club can be put into a slide show or PowerPoint presentation for classmates and future classes. This project is ready for any time of the year and well suited for a creative challenge for Black History Month. Little Brown Baby introduces the southern dialect that is enjoyable to interpret. Here is the first verse:
Little brown baby wif spa’klin’ eyes,
Come to yo’ pappy an’ set on his knee.
What you been doin’, suh — makin’ san’ pies?
Look at dat bib — you’s es du’ty ez me.
Look at dat mouf — dat’s merlasses, I bet;
Come hyeah, Maria, an’ wipe off his han’s.
Bees gwine to ketch you an’ eat you up yit,
Bein’ so sticky an sweet — goodness lan’s!
New Visitor’s Greeting…Welcome to Let’s Talk, a freewheeling column on movies, theater, television, books, educational practices, current events, and the Internet. If you are a first time visitor to the column, I recommend that you start with the About topic in the Index Bar at the top of the page. Follow About with the Let’s Talk column in archives. It was the first column of the New Year. Proceed to Let’s Talk II and then work your way up to today’s column. These columns will introduce a plethora (a better word choice than myriad) of new ideas and old delights you may have missed. It will give you a foundation for some of the issues we are introducing and following up in newer columns.
New visitor’s comments are welcome, too. They are immediately placed on this page in the contributor’s comment section or are shared with the column’s readers on Sunday. You are welcome, also, to suggest topics for discussion or enlist help from the site’s family of readers. I am a compendium of useless information. Challenge me, please, with great theater, travel, history, books, movies, and educational issues that would interest a wide audience of readers. The “compendium comment” was stolen from Orson Bean. Bean used the quote many times on television talk show interviews. Please recommend my column to your friends and other lovers of discussion.