Good night, Tigers. Ms. B.
Hello guys. I'm not feeling well tonight, so I will not be writing. I just needed to remind all of you that you have three projects due in for grades tomorrow. I need your color unit, graffiti and posters for Mr. Black done by the end of the day. Mid terms grades need to be posted by tomorrow. See me if you have any issues that need to be discussed. Love you guys...
Good night, Tigers. Ms. B.
Hello, tigers! I had another spectacular day at Ely High! The art room is getting so crowded. It makes me happy to have so many kids knock on my door and ask if they can come into my room for lunch and study hall! The word is out that we do amazing things in art.
Many of you know that last Saturday, I went to St. John's University in Manhattan to take an exam. I traveled to the University by subway (by the way, no graffiti in the subway!). When I walked out of the subway, I was right at the Brooklyn Bridge. In the year that I lived in NYC, I never walked across the bridge. It was a gorgeous day on Saturday and I allowed myself plenty of time before the exam so I easily had enough time to walk to the other side and back. But I chose not to, and I will tell you why.
I made a promise to a very special friend of mine that I wouldn't cross the bridge alone. My promise was that once I accomplished three special things in my life that we would cross the bridge together; the two of us...in celebration for our personal accomplishments. You see, we both set goals. We gave ourselves a certain amount of time to attain the goals and we promised that we would uphold each other, support each other and encourage each other through the process. Once we reached our goals then we would share and celebrate together by walking 'together' across the Brooklyn Bridge. Kind of silly, but it is a symbolic gesture.
So, in as much as I wanted to walk across the bridge because I was right there, I didn't. I want to share that moment with my friend. It will be so much more meaningful to me.
As the school year comes to an end and you all prepare to cross your bridges...some of you will enter a new grade level, others will graduate. Think about setting a special 'personal' goal and share it with a close friend. Agree to check on each other in order to give each other support and encouragement. Once you accomplish what you set out to achieve, CELEBRATE!
Always be happy when good things happen to others. If you do, then good things will come to you. If you allow jealousy and greed to get in the way of being happy for your friends then you will keep all good things from entering into your life.
Be happy for friends, be happy for your yourself and remember that your purpose in life is to wake up every day and just be happy. Good night, Tigers. Ms. B.
It has been an exciting week in the art room. We studied color, graffiti art & lettering and computer graphics. Thank you all for allowing me the pleasure of sharing all of this with you...I had a blast! I will be leaving tomorrow for New York City so I will not be writing until next Monday evening. Work on creating your own individual graffiti tag. I look forward to seeing what you all come up with. Love you guys, Ms. B.
Tomorrow I am going to introduce to all of you a new lesson about graffiti art. I am so excited to share information about this art form. After listening to my lecture, video presentation and demonstration I want you to decide and vote whether or not you feel that graffiti is an art form or simply vandalism. It should be an exciting conversation! I can't wait for tomorrow. Good night Tigers! Ms. B.
I was listening to an audio book today in my car as I was driving up to Palm Beach, when I heard this statement on the CD; “Words don’t teach”. Hmmmm? I stop the CD and thought about that. Is it true that “words don’t teach” and if it is true, then how does one learn?
If those words are true, then my days as a ‘teacher’ are invalid. I teach with words. But after thinking about this statement for a few moments, I suppose the premise that was trying to be conveyed was that people are more apt to learn through life experiences than they are through simply listening to words.
I would agree with that to some extent. I think that you can learn concepts, ideas and principles from books and teachers, but the greatest lessons in life are learned through life experiences. As the saying goes, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear” or “Life is about learning, when you stop, you die”.
Have you ever noticed the sign in the art room that says, “I see and I remember, I hear and I forget, I do and I understand”. That quote supports the statement that life experiences is the best way to learn. Once you do it, you get it. It’s a simple concept.
Seniors, you are 4 weeks away from leaving my classroom and entering into the most magnificent classroom ever…the world! You have all the ‘words’ that all your teachers have spoken to you over the years and now you will take what you have learned here at Ely High and put it to use. Enjoy the journey and take in all of life. You will learn your best lessons through your own life experiences. Remember, there are never mistakes in life...only lessons. I call mistakes, unexpected learning experiences. Consider these 'unexpected learning experiences' as contrast. These moments of contrast guide you to know what you want in life and what you don't want.
So let your life experiences steer you in the direction that makes you happy. Remembering that life is not so complicated; your goal in life is to be happy every day! It's as simple as that. Ms. B.
Isaiah sang to the entire class 5th period! An audience of 49 students. He's amazing!
I just wanted to tell you guys that I had a blast today teaching you all about color. I am so impressed that I can paint all day with 53 kids in my classes and you guys, listen so well, pay attention, work quietly and clean up for me! I feel like the luckiest art teacher in the world! Thank you all for making everyday that I spend at Ely High a blast! We talked about color all day, so I thought it would be appropriate to show a pic of me and Destany with her beautiful red 'colorful' hair.
Good night, Tigers. Ms. B.
"At the end of the day, the only questions I will ask myself are...Did I love enough? Did I laugh enough? Did I make a difference?"
Who determines the price of art?
Hello Tigers! Tonight I wanted to expand upon a discussion that we had today during 3rd block. I was asked by many of you, “Ms. B. who decided that ‘The Scream’ painting is worth $119 million dollars or that the ‘Mona Lisa’ is priceless”?
Great questions, but very hard to answer. So many factors go into determining the value of a work of art. We brainstormed in class today some possible reasons how art is priced but I wanted to reiterate and expand upon a few points that I made earlier.
A very simple answer as to why a work of art is worth a certain amount of money is simply that the buyer and seller both agreed that it is. It can be as simple as that. You guys were not happy with that answer and I understand why; it is very vague. A better answer would be that there is logic and passion mixed together when determining the price of art.
The logic part is that the world must deem the work of art a masterpiece, meaning it must be recognized as a ‘one of a kind work of art from an artist who is considered a master artist’. The passion part is simply that it is art. People fall in love paintings (and history). They are willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money to own them.
A great art story took place in New York City last year during the time that I live in the city. Several times a week I would walk up 5th Avenue, pass Central Park on my way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I passed by many vendors selling everything from art, photography to ice cream and hot dogs. One day I walked by a man selling ‘spray art’. Of course I noticed him and said hello. I had a brief conversation with him and then I continued on to work. Little did I Know that he was the world renowned artist named, Banskys who sells his art for hundreds of thousands of dollars!
Banksys decided to do a little personal experiment by setting up a stall in Central Park and selling his art for “$60 each.” He had over three dozen pieces of art with him that day that was valued over $1 million. By the end of the experiment, only three people purchased pieces-including a woman who asked him to cut the price down by half! The lucky few who did accidentally pick up a few authentic Banksys are now the proud owners of thousands of dollars-if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of art!
The point that I am trying to make to you is…just like I said earlier, the price of art is determined by both the seller and the buyer. Art (as is beauty), is in the eye of the beholder. Good night tigers we will talk more about this in class next week. Have a wonderful weekend. Ms. B.
"Today is a gift, that is why they call it present." Seniors; have a wonderful day in Orlando! Grad Bash will only come once, so enjoy every moment. Be safe, Ms. B.
Hello Tigers! I am not able to write for a couple days so I will leave you with just a little message. I am taking a class that meets for the next three days! I love to learn and grow. I learn so much from all of you every day. Thank you for making my days so much fun! Good luck Seniors! Be safe tomorrow and have a blast at Grad Bash, I will miss all of you. Take lots of photos to show me on Monday. Ms. B.
In the two and a half months that I have been your teacher, I have introduced you to 7 artists; Magritte, Dali, Picasso, O’Keeffe, Van Gogh, Da Vinci and Munch. All were considered geniuses; all were thought of as ‘crazy’ at times. But what I surmise the most from my studies of artists, musicians and writers is that they are ‘highly sensitive’ people.
Have you ever felt that you were too sensitive, too strange, too delicate, and too emotional? I have! I have not only felt this way at times, I have also been labeled this by others. However, what might appear to be a weakness to some people is in my opinion a strength. I believe that all artists are highly sensitive people and possibly that is why we feel ‘different’ at times.
Today in class I read to you the words that Vincent Van Gogh wrote about himself; “I am too sensitive for this world.” I love those words. So many of you identified with those words. I tried to comfort you by telling you that it is natural to feel that way, most artists are sensitive.
After you guys left the room, I asked myself; is it bad to be too sensitive? As I pondered the answer to that question, I thought back to a day last year when I was jogging in NYC. I jogged past a homeless man who was sitting on a bench tending to a very large open wound on his leg. The wound was bleeding and oozing. I saw maggots crawling on his legs! My heart ached for him and I felt great compassion for his situation.
I stopped running and I walked over to him and asked if he needed help. He was rude and offensive to me telling me to leave him alone and to ‘mind my own business’. At that moment, I had a choice to make; I could simply walk away, or I could be guided by my heart and try to help. So I did what I thought was the right thing to do, I called an ambulance, and then I stood off in the distance and waited for the paramedics to arrive.
While I waited, I watch many people look over at him, see the condition that he was in and then simply keep on walking or running. At least 30 people walked by and not one of them asked him if he was OK; they never acknowledged his presence. I was so disturbed by the lack of compassion that I was witnessing, that my eyes welled up with tears.
Close by was a dog park with lots of people playing and interacting with their dogs, some of those people in the dog park were the same people who walked by and ignore the injured man. How could they show love and compassion to an animal and yet let another human sit and suffer without asking him if he needed help?
Yes, he was dirty, obviously poor, possibly crazy but he was a man…a person worthy of compassion. Soon the paramedics arrived and the man received medical attention. I never found out what happened to him, but the point of the story here is; why did I care and everyone else there that day just walked by?
To some people, my sensitivity and compassion may appear as a weakness, but to me I am proud that I am connected to my world and to the people around me. Most artists are. Compassionate people are able to see the effort beneath the occasional failure, the intention beneath the mistake. They easily forgive others because they know that to be human is to be flawed. They treat others as they would like to be treated; with compassion. They make great teachers, LOL!
So, if you feel that you are too nice, too sweet, too sensitive or too compassionate…STOP! The world needs more people like you! Stop listening to people when they criticize your sensitivity because I say; “Lucky indeed is the person who is loved by those with compassion.” Good night tigers, Ms. B.
“They love the best who love with compassion.” –Ellen Anne Hill
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein
It’s lunch time here at ElY High and I am just sitting eating an apple thinking about the lecture that I gave to my classes this morning. It fascinates me to think about how many times I say the words, “people thought he was crazy” when I am introducing a famous artist to my students. What is crazy?
Today I lectured on the life and art of Edvard Munch. Munch was a prolific artist, poet and writer and yet at one point in his life he checked himself into a mental hospital because he heard voices and he felt he ‘was crazy’, so did Vincent Van Gogh. Many creative and imaginative geniuses have expressed these feelings. Charles Dickens considered himself ‘crazy’, so did Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. They all thought they had a ‘mental illness’ at one time or another.
I have a group of students in my 6th period block that have such a unique view of life and people. I listened to one of their conversations about a young boy in our local middle school who was being bullied for being different and they wanted to do something special for him to make him feel accepted and loved. They talked about throwing a party for him at one of the local parks in this area. I was so touched by their conversation and sensitivity that I sat down at the table to join in on their discussion.
When the class finished, I asked myself, “Why are some people naturally more sensitive to others? Is it because at one time in their life they felt different and they have the ability to empathize with the middle school child, or are some people just nicer?"
And if all these amazing prolific artists, writers and musicians at one time were considered, “crazy” or “mentally ill” then what exactly is crazy? Did they see themselves outside the norm of society? Maybe, just maybe…they were living a higher life than ‘normal’ people so that made them feel different.
I know that I see things differently than others do and I feel things more deeply than most people. It is those qualities that make me special. Walking home from school I could say to my friend, “Do you see that beautiful palm tree?” and they would simply reply, “Yep, it’s a palm tree.”
Yet, when I look at the palm tree, I see more than just a tree, I see beautiful colors. I don’t just see the color green, I see many colors. I have the visual sensitivity to see yellows, blues, and greens within the leaves. My eyes notice how the sun light changes the colors or how the color changes when the wind blows and twists the palm frawns.
From my studies of art history I know that the palm tree symbolizes victory, triumph, peace and eternal life and so as I look at the tree, I am reminded of its place in art and history. I recall palm branches that I saw on ancient Greek vases at the museums or on the pillars of the Parthenon when I visited Athens years ago. I see the texture on the tree trunk and the pattern of the bark as it layers up to the sky. I don’t just see a tree. I see things differently! I love being different, I love being me!
So, the next time that you feel different, be proud of being different! Honestly, normal is so boring and definitely overrated! To me, being different means being special! Trust me on this one. Ms. B.
I am an art educator and a professional artist. I write this blog to guide my students in (SEL) social, emotional, and academic development. S.E.L. is the District of Columbia Public School's priority because we believe that we must educate the whole child.
Yale National Initiative
2017-DCPS Standing Ovation recognition Highly Effective Teaching
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This work by Donna Bonavia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.msbonavia.com.