BY AMANDA MOSES
The Spring Creek After School Program has been kicking their virtual learning into full gear with arts and crafts, science experiments, yoga, and a wide variety of other activities through the video/audio application, Zoom.
On April 22nd, the Spring Creek After School Program introduced Learning Through An Expanded Arts Program (LEAP), an arts initiative that engages students using creative projects. According to LEAP’s mission statement on their website, “LEAP provides educational arts programs that promote access and equity for New York City students underserved in the arts. We inspire diverse school communities to love learning and build their creativity, collaboration, communi-cation, and critical thinking skills.”
LEAP instructor, Ms. Wendy, started her first lesson with the Spring Creek After School Program’s second and third graders by introducing herself and naming her favorite food that starts with the first letter of her name. “My name is Ms. Wendy and I like watermelons,” she said. She then had the students each introduce themselves in the same fashion.
“My name is Sophia, and I like spaghetti,” Sophia exclaimed. “Okay, so welcome to LEAP Time with Ms. Wendy! I always like to start with a bit of stretching and warming up. We will do some easy stretches from our chairs,” she said happily to the class.
Excitedly the children followed Ms. Wendy by wiggling their fingers, shaking their shoulders, and taking deep breaths in and out. Ms. Wendy then pointed to a lesson board and read out the steps for their very first LEAP activity together, which was making a sketchbook.
“In order to make your very own sketchbook, you will need five pieces of blank paper, one piece of color paper, a stapler, and markers. The first step is to stack the five blank pieces of paper together, and then fold it in half horizontally. That’s called Landscape paper style, when you fold it in half,” Ms. Wendy told the class.
One student had some difficulty folding the stack of papers evenly, but after several attempts he completed the task. “I like how you are not giving up, that is what an artist and student should always do,” Ms. Wendy said encouragingly.
The class was instructed to write “My Sketchbook” or “My Coloring Book” and their name on the cover with any design that they like. “You can use markers, you can use a pencil, crayons, or whatever you have to write with,” Ms. Wendy said.
After they completed their crafts project, Ms. Wendy shared her screen to teach them about a famous artist. “Since we are talking about lines and shapes, I want to introduce you to an artist named Piet Mondrian,” she said.
Piet Mondrian is considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th century for his abstract style and geometric elements. The Dutch painter focused on using only the primary colors (red, blue, and yellow), and featured squares and lines in his pieces.
Ms. Wendy’s presentation showcased Mondrian’s artistic style, allowing the children to learn key vocabulary and the difference between horizontal and vertical lines. “Horizontal lines go side to side, vertical lines go up and down,” Ms. Wendy said.
Once the lesson culminated, the Spring Creek After School Program leader, Ms. G asked the children to use one word to describe their first LEAP Lesson. The children happily said that the class was “Fun, awesome, and exciting.” They were also eager to fill their sketchbooks with drawings.
Screenshots by Amanda Moses and Pamela Stern