FI School Slip-Casting, Field Trips and Research Projects

Lighthouse Works and Fishers Island School – Slip-Casting

By Ellanora L.

Artist Bruno Cancado with Fishers Island School Students

On October 24th and 25th, Fishers Island School students had the opportunity to work with Lighthouse Works Executive Director Nate Malinowski and fellowship alumnus Bruno Cancado on a slip-casting project as a fundraiser for the school’s drama department. Lighthouse Works is a 6-week artistic fellowship on the island. In past years fellows from the program have visited Fishers Island School classes to run programs with students in various grades and mediums. This year Mr. Malinowski and Fishers Island School drama directors Ms. Hall and Mr. Dollar are hoping to expand this partnership and work together on creating sets for the school’s production of George Orwell’s 1984. The production is being staged at the school on November 21st.

Students create a plaster mold of an object for slip-casting

As part of this collaboration, Mr. Cancado visited the school over the course of two afternoons to demonstrate the slip-casting process to a group of students in grades 7-12. In this process, an object is partly surrounded by clay and surrounded on four sides by wooden boards. Then plaster is mixed, poured over the object, and left to dry. This creates a mold of the object. The mold is then filled with slip, or liquid clay, to create a sculpture version of the original object.

Over the course of the next three weeks, the students will be using the skills learned in this workshop and tools provided by Lighthouse Works to create a number of art projects related to themes in 1984. These art projects will be available for sale as a fundraiser for the drama department.

Fall Updates on the Fishers Island Elementary

By Ellanora L., Jack M., Samuel W.

3rd/4th Grade: Elementary Field Trip and Nature Walks

Ms. Burns’ 3rd and 4th grade class have spent the last month bonding with the rest of the elementary and using nature to get excited about writing. On October 16th, while the 10th-12th graders took the PSAT and SATs, the elementary headed to Connecticut to watch the new movie The Addams Family and visit Buttonwood Farm in Griswold.

Ms. Burns says that the first elementary field trip of the year is focused on the students bonding. This is particularly important between the Connecticut and Fishers Island students who have not otherwise had the opportunity this year to spend time together outside of the school environment.

In class, the 3rd and 4th graders have been continuing their nature walks and writing about their observations. Ms. Burns says that her primary goal is to help the students get excited about writing through writing about things that they have experienced. As the year goes on they will begin to notice patterns and changes, and present this data in various methods and various types of graphs. Ms. Burns says she feels very fortunate to be able to use the island as a classroom, particularly because there are so many natural resources within walking distance.

Another topic that the class has been focused on is animal adaptations. Each student picks an animal and researches its own adaptations. This year, Ms. Burns has chosen to study honeybees and she hopes to extend that into a class field trip to a bee farm where the students can sample different types of honey.

Pre-K: The Red Barn, Open-House, and Autumn

On October 7th, Ms. Atkin and the Pre-K class headed to the Red Barn to participate in an art project led by community member and gallery owner Tom O’Neill. The kids first painted in chaos and then used stencils to add control. These concepts of chaos and control are common themes used by Mr. O’Neill, who Ms. Atkin described as “fantastic” and “a great artist” who loves kids. The kids greatly enjoyed the project and Ms. Atkin hopes to bring students back in the future.

Pre-K students at The Red Barn with Tom O’Neill

Later in the month, the class welcomed community members to their regular classes when the school held its annual Open House on October 10th. This year for the first time this event was held during the school day which allowed parents to drop into classes. Pre-K parents particularly enjoyed seeing art and music classes.

Throughout the month, along with art projects, the class has focused on the changing of the seasons. Ms. Atkin has particularly focused on using both the words fall and autumn to make sure the students learn both. The students have been or will be completing a number of engaging products surrounding this topic, including a leaf hunt, leaf collages, planting and learning about Halloween. In recent years, Ms. Atkin has taught a variety of grades but she loves being back in Pre-K saying this is “where I’m meant to be.”

Special Education Department: USA Research Project

Gina Roehrig, who helps run Fishers Island School’s Special Education Department, has continued this month to help her students with their United States of America research project, where they spent two weeks learning about a specific US state. Mrs. Roehrig, who originally was involved with general education, ventured into Special Education as she enjoys individualizing lessons for her students to find new ways to meet their needs. As Halloween comes around the corner, Mrs. Roehrig hopes to have an elementary celebration and games to enhance the holiday spirit.

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