Monday, July 23, 2012

Saying Good Bye

What I forgot to tell you. In the midst of all of the tumult described in my last post, trips, mourning, new exciting plans for the future, and everything that came in between, I have wrapped up my year as a JSC Fellow in Israel.

At both of the moadoniyot where I worked, I have been blessed to meet a staff with hearts as big as the breadth of their smiles. These are warm, passionate, dedicated, hardworking, caring people who truly make a difference in the young lives of children who so desperately need them. For my part, this year was one where the old cliche rang true- I learned much more from those little people than they learned from me. I tutored many in ESL and math. I worked with all of them on their emotional awareness, coping skills, and future interactions. I opened their eyes to the history, people, and techniques that bring color to the world through art. Together, we worked hard, fought, laughed, yelled, went crazy, fell asleep, got squeezed into heart stopping hugs, and created beautiful things that made the world a bit brighter. And throughout the process, I learned more about my capabilities, instinct to help and learn and grow, and made many friends along the way.

The Festivities Begin

The end of the year was full of celebrations, parties, ceremonies, tears, laughter, emotion, pride, and the most important part, the fruits of the year's labor. It was incredible to watch parents and children's faces alike when they walked around together to view the completed artwork at each of the art exhibits that I helped to organize. The first was in Haifa, organized by the Museum of Art in Haifa where the program originated. They celebrated their success this year with a large ceremony with the families of 15 moadoniyot throughout Haifa and invited many public and municipality leaders and officials. There were presentations and speeches, refreshments, and a beautiful display of the work of every moadonit. I was taken completely by surprise when suddenly I was presented with a gift in front of the entire crowd thanking me for all of my help and hard work. It is a beautifully framed piece of artwork created by one of the children in the program. It now is proudly displayed in my apartment.

A patchwork of all of the monochrome color studies from 15 moadoniyot in Haifa

Still Life Color Studies

Pop Art work with complementary colors

A proud teacher

With Adi, who I worked with closely to write the art lessons

Back in Jerusalem to celebrate our work together, at both moadoniyot where I worked, I created a gallery of student work and also partook in their end of year ceremonies. Below are some pictures and videos that highlight how we celebrated together. I hope that they will warm you and touch you just as deeply as they touched me.

Moadonit Afikim
Bakka, Jerusalem
Our Last Lesson

To wrap up the year, I led the children in a culminating activity where they thought back to all of the techniques and schools of art they had learned throughout the year and chose their favorite in order to decorate a large mural to be permanantly hung on the premisice. Here is the process and the beautiful results.

Getting set up

Reviewing the different techniques we can use (Yup, that's my teacher face)

These boys decided to focus on line.

These girls chose to use the techniques they learned about color, collage, and spot.

Here you can see monochrome color study, pointilism, and still life

A finished section

Another example of pointillism

The finished product!

Moadonit Afikim
Bakka, Jerusalem
End of Year Celebration

Part of the art gallery show of student work.

The children danced, sang, played violin, and made many a presentation, all in front of their parents' proud gaze from the audience. We made a booklet of each child's exquisite artwork and a display gallery of choice pieces for all to see. All in all, it was an emotional evening to remember.

The books of student artwork that we prepared for each child.

O. looking at her year's artwork

A dance some of the girls prepared

Another section of the gallery display

One of my favorite pieces. Girl, 8 years old.

Another cute piece.

The whole group

One of the counselors at the moadonit
With the incredible staff at Afikim

Moadonit TalPaz
Talpiot Mizrach, Jerusalem
End of Year Celebration

During their summer camp, I worked with the children to deepen their skills and understanding of English. Often there is a large dip in learning over the summer, and I took advantage of my time with them to work on oral language, vocabulary, sentence structure, and reading comprehension by creating an all English play based on the book "The Rainbow Fish" by Marcus Pfister. The children participated 100% in the creation of the stage scenery, costumes, and play, which they proudly presented to their parents during our year end celebration. All the decorations were created using the techniques the children had learned throughout the year.

The book and vocabulary card
The stage all set up! (Everything you see was prepared by the children)

The Wise Octopus's cave home

The starfish waiting to give advice

The Rainbow Fish: each scale was created by one child, using the techniques they most enjoyed from this year. You can see use of spot, texture, line, color, and shape. During the play, the each scale was pulled off from their velcro attachments and handed out to the child who made it.

The Little Blue Fish

With the fantastic staff of TalPaz before the show

The first day we read the book both in English and Hebrew, learned essential vocabulary, and over the next few days, had book discussions to delve deeper into the main idea and lesson of the book. We had an interactive forum where children built on one another's ideas and deepened our understanding of the story. 

Then, over the next few weeks, we worked on vocabulary, sentence structure, and presentation skills for the stage to get the play ready. The results were a beautiful play that was both impressive and adorable. I ended up making a gift for each child of a DVD of the play and a slideshow of their art from all the lessons I taught. It made me feel like a proud mom. In addition, I also displayed their artwork from throughout the year in a beautiful gallery that children pulled their parents by the arm to see. It was a lovely afternoon that I will not forget!

Presenting a section of the gallery of student artwork from the year!

A proud teacher, as always

Parents looking with their children at the beautiful work they created!

Preparing for the Rainbow Fish Show
Some short presentations (the gift they gave me was a guide to Jerusalem, hoping that I'll remain in Israel)

Another view of the artwork
 To see the finished Rainbow Fish play, feel free to write me an e-mail and I will be happy to share! It was fantastic!

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