1. January has started with an interesting visit at the Pottery Workshop, which was organized by the City of Athens Culture, Sports & Youth Organization (OPANDA). After our successful first visit to the workshop on November 2015, a second group of students visited it, in order to gain the benefits of familiarising themselves with such a plastic material as clay and creating artwork like animals, birds, flowers, peoples’ forms and food made out of clay. Our young students were excited with the clay’s texture and plasticity and once again showed their artistic skills, while expressing their emotions. The person in charge of the workshop enriched the program with music, harmoniously combining the two arts together.
2. A group of our students with their teachers, visited the Greek National Opera in order to watch the performance of Carmensitas. Children had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the Opera and ballet. They watched a combination of modern and classical dance and were captivated by the actors’ performance and costumes. The show was a proof that Art can create various feelings even when you are just a spectator.
3. We believe that it is very important for our students to visit various places like theatres, Museums, art workshops in order to familiarize themselves with different art forms.
Therefore, a group of students visited the National Archeological Museum and attended an educational program entitled “Reliving ancient Greek art”. The aims of the visit were:
- Familiarizing students with the Museum
- Familiarizing students with the Art of Sculpturing and particularly with statues of Kouroi (free-standing ancient Greek sculptures which first appear in the archaic period in Greece and represent nude male youths), Kore (the female sculptural counterpart of the kouros) and Zeus.
- Learning the history of Kore Phrasikleia (Φρασίκλεια).
The students participated in activities like:
– Observation, comparison and recognition of materials like marble, fabric etc.
– Representation of Phrasikleia and Kouros statues (drama play).
– Painting Phrasikleia statue.
Through the implementation of the program which included dialogue, storytelling, drama and artistic activity, our students familiarized themselves with the ancient Greek culture and the art of Sculpturing, an important chapter of ancient Greek art and universal artistic creation.
4. Inspired by the work of the teacher Chris Ulmer (http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/this-teacher-compliments-every-student-every-morning-watch/) we thought, in our turn, to work on our students’ emotions in a different and original way. So we organized a daily activity titled “Say good words – Feel good things”. Our goal is to strengthen the confidence of our students, to make them adopt correct behavior patterns and to feel the emotional pleasure of being polite, either by accepting it themselves or by expressing it to another person.
With the help of our students, we created cards with compliments, full of words expressing praise, sympathy and flatter. So every morning, the day within the classes begins with a sweet “word”. Each student selects a card and reads it to one of his/her classmates. In this way, pupils and teachers have fun and the day always starts with a good “word” for everyone separately. We have even created a book called “Say good words – Feel good things. 80 fun compliments for children”. Μιλάω ευγενικά Αισθάνομαι καλά-80 διασκεδαστικές φιλοφρονήσεις
Through this activity, we hope our students will gradually develop their communication skills and enhance their self-image.
5. The third official activity of the program “Artemotion Xpress” is called “The materials are playing with the emotions”. The aim is to bring our students in contact with different materials and make whatever they like using their imagination and creativity. The school classes worked in pairs and the result was unique! Once more we realized that Art and children’s imagination are limitless! The students enjoyed the activity and also acquired new knowledge and new ways in disposing their energy and creativity.
Mr. Andreas’ and Mrs. Lukia’s classes decided to work with fruits and vegetables and through them to induce the creation of art and expression of feelings of joy and creativity to the students! So they gathered all their imagination and the result was great, colorful and tasty! At the same time, the activity was a good learning opportunity of fruits and vegetables, colors and getting in touch with different textures.
Mrs. Georgia’s and Mrs. Evagelia’s classes have chosen to work with the weather conditions! The teachers wrote about their choice: “People with autism may often have a particular interest in an activity. A favorite topic is the weather and its changes. Correspondingly, the weather affects their mood and expression in a positive or and a negative form. Therefore, we chose various materials (spaghetti, foil, buttons, glitter, cotton buds, knitting wool, newspaper, plasticine, pins, cardboard, scrap pencil, glue, scissors) and children created the weather phenomenons and also expressed their positive and negative feelings (joy-sadness-anger-fear) about them”.
Students heard sounds of lightning, heavy rain, rustling leaves, etc. They imitated faces depending on how the sounds made them feel. The activity was a source of discussion and desensitization of the fears that some students may demonstrate and also a good guide for the management of negative emotions that the weather may cause.
Mrs. Theodora’s and Mrs. Kira’s classes decided to make a maquette of our school, while adding what students wish they had, such as the playground. They used a variety of materials such as clay, buttons, wood, paper boxes of various sizes, simultaneously giving a valuable lesson about the importance of recycling in our lives. Students were very pleased with this activity which gave them the opportunity to express themselves through handcrafting, improve their imagination and feel positive emotions.
Mrs. Athina, Mrs. Zoe and Mrs. Rita with their students, who attend the lower grades of our school, used pasta, papers and other materials in order to create a sad boy, a happy girl and an angry squirrel. Once again, the joy of creation was apparent. The contact with different materials offered a variety of tactile stimuli to the students. At the same time, the activity was a means of learning and recognizing the genders (boy – girl) and the basic emotions (joy – sadness – anger).
6. A group of students, with their teachers, visited the Tactual Museum in Athens. According to the information provided on the museum’s website, the Tactual Museum of Athens was founded in Athens in 1984 by the “Lighthouse of Visually Impaired people of Greece”, in order to give the opportunity to visually impaired people, to familiarize themselves with the cultural heritage of Greece. This is one of the four or five tactual museums in the world. The main difference between the Tactual Museum and other museums is that all visitors are allowed to touch the exhibits (statues, vessels, sculptures and useful artifacts), which are exact replicas of the originals displayed in the Museums of Greece, such as the National Archaeological museum, the Acropolis, Delphi, Olympia, Heraklion Museums and the Museum of Cycladic Art, dated back to the Cycladic, Minoan, Geometric, Archaic, Austere Rythm, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods. There are also exhibits from the Byzantine era and works of art from visually impaired people.
The children had the opportunity to touch and feel the exhibits (e.g. the sculptures of Aphrodite of Milos, Hermes of Praxiteles, Poseidon, Heniokhos/Charioteer of Delphi e.t.c.) and try to conceptualize the sculptures by touch. Through discussion with the responsible person of the program, students gained valuable knowledge concerning the exhibits and the Braille system. The use of masks during the educational games, helped them have a better understanding of the problems visually-impaired individuals encounter.
The students learned that all people should be given equal opportunities and be able to experience the power of Art. People with visual impairment or any other disability should have access to the world’s culture and fully participate in public affairs, in order to improve the quality of their life, to acquire important skills for their education and employment opportunities.
7. Our students along with their teachers visited the “THEATRON” of the Hellenic World in order to watch the performance of “The Wizard of Oz”, which is a classical fantasy storytelling that sets off the imagination and touches children’s feelings. The actors’ performance, the impressive scenery, the costumes and magical music impressed and gave a lot of smiles to children and adults. They went on a fantastic journey full of beauty and adventure. With their imagination they experienced Dorothy’s world, a magical world filled with emotions.
Once again, the children had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the Art of Theatre. The show, effectively and clearly, passed messages against bullying and in favor of cooperation and teamwork.
8. February should be regarded as the month of Theatre for our school. Once again our students had the opportunity to watch a unique performance at the Glass Musical Theatre! We watched “The Bright Room”, a play with 9 talented actors, who made us travel to fairy and magical worlds. The students were captivated by the actors’ performance and costumes, the dragons, the giant bubbles and the wonderful music. They felt the actors’ fear, joy, sadness and courage as the show contributed to their emotional awareness.
9. With enthusiasm and passion, we created a poster for the European program “Artemotion Xpress in Europe”, in order to enrich our school’s info point about the program.
10. The Carnival is coming! A celebration very dear to our little students, who masquerade and pretend to be heroes, imaginary creatures, joyful, frightening and funny characters. Students who attend the lower grades of our school, with the support of their teachers Mrs. Zoe and Mrs. Rita and their assistant Mrs. Mary, created a colorful Harlequin and gave a joyful and festive mood to the whole school. Through Art and handcrafting, they worked on cooperation and teamwork, fine motor skills, matches and visual stimuli, using a variety of materials whilst feeling the joy of creation.
11. Mrs. Theodora’s class has incorporated two important programs within their daily routine, the e-Twinning program «You said Sculpture? » and the Erasmus program “Artemotion Xpress in Europe”. Therefore, 11 partner schools, with countless students, benefit from the two European programs whose aim is to arise the emotional awareness of students through Art.
Here you can see samples of the work inside the classroom. The goal of the exact activity is to separate the emotions of joy and sorrow, through comparison and matching exercises.
12. On Friday 19.2.2016, a group of Greek students had their first skype communication with a group of German students. Despite the connection problems, the students enjoyed the communication. This was an attempt for a first acquaintance. Therefore, students introduced themselves by telling their names and age. Firstly, the two groups of students had filled out a form, which was sent via email and included simple questions like: their name, their country and their photo. The forms were printed, plasticized and placed in the classroom so as students would have daily visual contact with the German students.
The language of communication is the English language. Therefore, the two Greek teachers, Mrs. Theodora and Mrs. Kira, have already introduced the lesson of the English language in their classes, teaching the students simple words and phrases of basic communication (Hello, how are you, my name is…, yes, no, how old are you, I am fine etc).
13. The 4th official activity of the project “ArtEmotion Xpress in Europe” was “Face puzzle”. Firstly, students from all the partner schools had to take a photograph of the faces of their peers, whilst making various facial expressions representing emotions like joy, sadness, anger, fear, surprise.
At the 1st Special Education Primary School of Korydallos, we printed the photos in A3 paper and plasticized them. Students with the help of their teachers, cut the photos from 3 to 20 pieces, depending on the degree of difficulty they chose for each student’s puzzle and always in accordance with the students’ functional abilities.
The activity took place in each class separately. You can watch the procedure, impressions and feelings arousing during the activity in the video below. Teachers have recorded the whole process with clarity.
According to Mrs. Athina, whose students attend one of the lower grade classes of our school: “During the photo-shooting of students by their classmates, there were difficulties in using the camera and imitating facial expressions in order to express feelings like joy, sorrow and anger’’.
The students showed various reactions such as interest, curiosity and desire to explore the camera, as well as stereotypic behavior, such as playing with the camera cord. Some students enjoyed the procedure and others were totally indifferent. When they saw the puzzle pieces, they tried to explore them. There was a low degree of difficulty (3 to 5 pieces per puzzle) and some students made their puzzle without any problems.
The same photos were also placed on the white board in order to help the pupils in completing the puzzles. Finally, they were asked to recognize themselves and identify their best friends amongst the photos placed on the board.
Generally, students enjoyed the activity, made contact and expressed their feelings as far as possible. It was a beautiful, interactive and creative activity”.
CLASSES K2 – K3
According to Mrs. Zoe and Mrs. Rita whose students also attend the lower grade classes of our school: “Our students found it very difficult to use the camera and only one pupil managed to take a proper photo of his classmates. Furthermore, it was difficult for the students to imitate facial expressions relevant to an emotion. All children enjoyed making their own puzzle and watching themselves on the video projector, which was used in order to modify and enrich the activity. They were also asked to make the puzzles of their classmates. Some students completed the puzzles successfully, while others needed our help. Then they were asked to indicate the corresponding photo after hearing one of their classmate’s name. Finally, we mixed all the pieces of the puzzles (3 to 5 pieces each) and asked the students to find their own puzzle’s pieces and put them together. Of course, we helped the children when needed during the activity.
CLASSES M1 – M2
According to Mrs. Lukia and Mr. Andreas, who teach middle grade classes: “Our little photographers enjoyed a lot their new role! They gave instructions to their classmates, they laughed, played and learned. During the activity, they were listening to various kinds of music (classical, rock, traditional music), which helped them express and name emotions like sadness, joy, surprise, fear, anger, excitement, disgust. They particularly enjoyed watching their photos printed. Some children found it difficult to use the scissors and it was a good way to practice on that. Firstly, they made the puzzles (9 to 14 pieces depending on the student’s ability) with some help. Later, they put all the pieces together by themselves. Through the Art of photography, the students cooperated, played and felt contented.
CLASSES M3 – M4
According to Mrs. Georgia and Mrs. Evaggelia, whose students also attend the middle grade classes of our school: “The pupils were asked to take photos of their classmates while expressing feelings like joy, sadness, anger, jealousy, embarrassment, impassiveness and surprise. All students are familiar with someone taking a photo of them. It was difficult for them to express the feelings they were asked to, mostly the negatives ones. Therefore, they were asked to imitate their teachers or react to hypothetical questions e.g. how would you feel if somebody brought you a gift, how would you feel if your favorite toy was broken etc.
Afterwards, the students cut the photos into pieces and made their own puzzle with the help of their teachers. Some of them also made their classmate’s puzzles. The aim of this activity was also to improve skills like concentration, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, use of scissors and cooperation. Simultaneously, it gave a lot of opportunities for expressing and better understanding of feelings. It was a really fun and interactive activity”.
According to Mrs. Theodora, who teaches a higher grade class: “The students, with their teacher’s guidance, imitated facial expressions which indicated emotions such as joy, anger, sadness, disgust and surprise. The pupils took photos of each other in order to familiarize themselves with the Art of photography. They enjoyed the process a lot. We had to take a lot of photos in order to choose the most representative. During the activity, students recognized various emotions in familiar faces while entertaining themselves. Finally, they also completed the puzzles on the PC, which made the activity more fun and educational.
According to Mrs. Kira, whose students also attend a higher grade class: “Children were asked to express how they would feel (joy, sadness, pain, shame, anger, disgust, scorn etc.) in a given hypothetical situation. They enjoyed the photo-shooting process by switching roles: photographer and model. They were satisfied watching the photos they took themselves using the digital camera. They identified their emotions, they named them, and they imitated facial expressions captured on the printed photos. Then, they chose their best photo in order to make their puzzle. During the activity, they practiced their fine motor skills, by using scissors and putting the pieces of the puzzle together. They also made combinations of shapes, colors and background in order to make the puzzle. They cooperated helping each other when needed. They even competed who would finish the puzzle faster.
Notes – Material selection
– In order to make the puzzle, the photos were printed in A3 paper and were plasticized. The chosen material is resistant, easy to use and suitable to practice students’ fine motor skills.
– The number of pieces of each puzzle was in accordance with the students’ functional abilities.
Questions – Guidelines used
Make a facial expression imitating how you would feel if:
- The present you wished for is under the Christmas tree.
- You found out that you won’t go on an excursion because it rains.
- You are in front of the Lernaean Hydra, the monster with the 9 heads.
- A friend broke your PlayStation, tablet or your favorite toy.
14. February was finished with a theatrical performance. Once again our students had the opportunity to watch a great play with the tilte “Do not scare the nightingale”, which is based on a traditional fairy-tale. The show was excellent and the children were thrilled and happy to become little actors for a while. It was a really amusing and interactive show; the directness of the actors helped the students to understand better the Art of theatre. They passed important messages relating to diversity, respect of others and especially bullying.