“Press, pull. Press, pull,”
was the mantra heard in the Fourth Grade classroom on Wednesday, April 25, as
students took turns silk-screening their original stencils. Far Brook’s Fourth Grade reconnected with
Fourth Graders from St. Phillips Academy at Far Brook School for a day of
printmaking, drama, poetry, sports, postcard writing, and eating. Far Brook Fourth Grade Teacher Rebecca
Campbell designed this program over a decade ago to provide Far Brook Fourth Graders
with new experiences and the chance to enable conversations between our students
and classes from Newark schools. The
shared experience allows the students to explore and celebrate their
similarities and differences through creative endeavors.
The eager students divided into small
groups of 6-10 for varied activities. In one classroom overlooking the
wetlands, students brainstormed in partnerships to write spring-themed Tanka poems. The students’ knowledge of Haiku poetry gave
them a foundation on which to build their Tanka poems, capturing these fleeting
experiences on paper.
As the small groups circulated through the
activities, individual students had the opportunity to use original stencil
designs which they had created previously in the silk-screening process. Students explored possibilities as they
experimented with printing on paper, t-shirts, and fabric panels that will
become an art installation at Far Brook School and at Seton Hall University.
While awaiting their turn to use the
silk-screening squeegee, students added their contributions to a collaborative
art project titled, “What does Peace mean
to you?” This involved a mixed media artwork, titled “Shadow of Peace,” which
was begun by artist Ing-On Vibulbhan-Watts and completed by the students
writing on the artwork their personal definitions and experiences of
Students wrote poetic wishes for
friends, which they expressed on postcards decorated with colorful designs made
by dipping the ends of beautifully shaped vegetables in paint and then pressing
them onto the postcards. Snacks, lunch,
and a variety of creative partnership games and activities helped the children
make personal and group discoveries.
It was an inspiring and interactive afternoon at Far Brook,
one that Fourth Graders from both schools will long remember.
Quotes from the day:
- Working cooperatively we discovered that we can make
- When we looked at our finished work we realized that
combining our ideas can be more interesting.
- We worked together by putting together our ideas and our
- We were surprised that we had so much in common with our
partners. We are basically the same.
- We worked together by listening to one another and staying