Mrs. Difranco's perspective of the Tomaquag Museum and Printmaking:
The trip to the Tomaquag Museum was inspiring for so many reasons, but especially lesson planning. This museum is only a five minute ride from door to door and we have neglected to visit or connect with these community artisans. While visiting the museum, I noticed the baskets decorated with a printmaking technique. This ancient technique was, and remains, an important process in art making. Printmaking is seen in so many cultures across the world and we are fortunate to have a student’s parent that is a master printmaker. She graduated from RISD and offered to run a class with our fourth graders. We looked at the history of printmaking and the different techniques used in a variety of cultures. She let us use her linoleum cuts to make our prints. We were able to purchase linoleum for a fourth grade project this year. It was great to have community artists share their technique with our students while linking a very modern process to a very ancient one.
From Mrs. Difranco, our art teacher:
During the months of January and February, I was able to attend an after school art club in collaboration with the Indigenous Arts Workshop. Through this workshop I have come to realize that I don’t know as much as I thought about the Native American culture. I work in a community thriving with such rich history and knowledge of the land we view through our windows. This grant is opening my eyes, enabling me to make deeper connections to its roots. Through the arts, we are attempting to build stronger relationships with a culture buried in plain sight. While attending these workshops, I listen to the Native American students. They gossip about the various Pow-wows they attend and their likes/dislikes of the rituals and different tribe relations. We listen to Indigenous music of the past and also modern versions. Some of the students sing along to these songs and sometimes sing without the music. This space has become one I look forward to creating and connecting in.
On Thursday, February 20, 2020, Hope Valley School welcomed Chris Newell (Passamaquoddy) who was a senior advisor for Dawnland, which won an Outstanding Research Emmy. What an honor to have Chris at our school. The students and staff were engrossed with his knowledge of Native American history and culture which he shared through stories and music. The students were fully engaged and delighted to sing with him. He united the students effortlessly and encouraged them to come together through song and dance. Check out the video of Chris leading the students in a song. This video is Chris singing with the sound of his drum. Best of luck at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Maine (@abbemuseum).
Throughout todays early release day, students participated designing their own constellations after reading Peter Reynolds book, The North Star. This ties in nicely with Black History Month as the Underground Railroad used the North Star to find their way north for freedom. The students used art materials acquired through this year's Crayola grant. Thank you to Amanda Difranco, Kerry Pastore, and Alison Ward for collaborating and making this possible for our students.
Our 4th grade and 2nd graders have pen pals from Spain. The children are enjoying writing and videoing to their new friends. Here is a recap from Senora Carpenter.
Our HVES fourth grade students received videos from their pen pals in Spain. The pen pals told us about themselves in Spanish. Our students noted that they speak really fast! Sometimes they were hard to understand, but we were able to pick up on a lot of words. It was also cool for students to hear their accent. Since they are in southern Spain, many of them make sounds a little differently. For example, they pronounce their "c"s and "z"s like "th". Shortly thereafter, our fourth graders sent videos back to Spain where they also introduced themselves in Spanish. Next time, we are going to send them videos in English and they will also send us videos in English. It will be cool to see what they are capable of saying in our language!
Our second graders recently received hand-written letters from pen pals in Seville, Spain. Each letter was written to one of our students in English (many were in cursive!) and included a drawing on the back. They called us their "pen friends". Our students are in the process of writing back to them in Spanish. We are making a rough draft and including our first names, ages, likes, and family members. We will make a final draft and add a picture as well.
It is great to see the students interacting with peers from other cultures. They get to see a lot of similarities and differences. A noticeable similarity is that they like a lot of the same things that we like. They enjoy sports and video games! A cool cultural difference that we have seen so far is in their names. A lot of first names that are common there are names that we have never heard of. I wonder if they think our names are interesting!
It's also amazing for fourth graders to practice their speaking skills and second graders to practice letter writing. Learning Spanish helps them reinforce a lot of what they work on every day with Mrs. Mello, Ms. D’Agostino, Mrs. Ricci, and Mrs. St. Clair!
To view a couple 4th grade videos we are sending to Spain and some pictures of the 2nd grade letters, please click on the link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1P8w-jo3yhFQLCoBj2NYqu3DR6TRPbVh6
On Jan 9th, HVES had a "Word Collecting Day!" Hope Valley readers listened to Mrs. Ward read another Peter Reynolds' book (the 4th one so far) called The Word Collector during Library Classes. Then, on early release day, students used magazines and newspapers to cut out and collage fabulous words in their journals. Students searched for either new words with new meanings or words that made them feel something, which is an objective in Health classes, and discussed that words are important. Mrs. DiFranco incorporated a Kindergarten lesson about the words 'love' and 'kind' in conjunction with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Grade Four trip to The Tomaquag Museum
On Monday, November 18, 2019, Hope Valley School was captivated with a cultural assembly from members of the Narragansett Tribe. The students were taught Narragansett words and the importance of the animals, land, and thirteen moons. In addition, the students were read a story about the significance of the jingle dance. Following the read aloud, a first grade student, Nizhoni Spears, demonstrated the jingle dance. This dance is conducted during pow wows and is danced to the beat of a drum. Check out the video of Nizhoni Spears below showcasing her talent while her father Cassius Spears, Jr and little brother Sowaniu performed the beat. We cannot thank the Spears family (Cassius Spears Sr., Dawn Spears, Cassius Spears Jr., and Endawnis Spears) enough to take the time out of their busy lives to speak with our students. Stay tuned for upcoming cultural activities and events.
To view Nizhoni's dance, please click the link:
This year students are participating in a school-wide Peter Reynolds book study. Each month a new book by this author is featured and teachers are collaborating to make this happen. Mrs. Pastore, Mrs. Ward, Mrs. DiFranco, Mrs. Larned, and Mrs. Karney are the lead teachers on this initiative and are leading the students through various activities every early release day.
Dot Day Pictures - Sept 2019
Happy Dreamer Day - Nov 2019
Hope Valley School received a $2,500 Arts grant through Crayola in October 2019. We are very excited for this opportunity. Stay tuned for our "ART SPOTLIGHT" of the month. Check out the article that was featured in the Westerly Sun (click the link below).
Westerly Sun Featured Article