Ned Kahn’s Negev Wheel @ CJM

Rooftop Alternative School extends and enriches the learning opportunities in the classroom by connecting our students to the rich cultural life of the City. “Art Is @ The Center,” Rooftop’s art study theme for 2016-2017 reflects on Rooftop’s location at the geographic center of San Francisco. While the school began the year’s art study with a exploration of mindfulness through the form of the mandala, Kahn’s Negev Wheel invites viewers to take art and mindfulness for a spin through sculpture. To quote Janine Okmin, Associate Director of Education at Contemporary Jewish Museum, “In this gallery, art is literally at the center…” Using sand from the Negev Desert, “blown by the wind for centuries,” Negev Wheel invites a closer look at the invisible forces of rotation and gravity that are constantly at work in nature.

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“In his work Negev Wheel, Bay Area artist Ned Kahn explores these metaphors by reenacting the historical drama of tumbling desert sand, contained inside a circular spinning wheel. If a grain of sand is the vulnerable individual, a mountain of sand can have tremendous aggregate power. Thus in the context of The Contemporary Jewish Museum, Kahn’s work raises essential Jewish questions about building a reality of meaning, community, and generation.”

— http://www.thecjm.org/on-view/currently/negev-wheel-ned-kahn/about

Download: CJM “Negev Wheel” PD Workshop Agenda cjm-pd-agenda-for-negev-wheel

CJM PD Agenda for Negev Wheel

A closer look at the movement of the sand mixture in the interactive sculpture that visitors set into motion. Kahn experimented with three variables to create Negev Wheel: tilt (of the wheel), speed (of the spinning), and viscosity (fluidity of the sand).

Contemporary Jewish Museum “Negev Wheel” Exhibition Resource: http://www.thecjm.org/storage/documents/education/2016/Ned_Kahn_Teacher_Resource.pdf

This resource uses quotes, artist interviews, discussion questions, and suggested activities to examine Ned Kahn: Negev Wheel through five thematic lenses: natural forces; tinkering, engineering, and the artistic process; mindfulness; Jewish content; and art as metaphor. This guide is useful for classroom teachers or anyone interested in a deeper exploration of Ned Kahn: Negev Wheel.

In Conversation With Ned Kahn from The Contemporary Jewish Museum on Vimeo.

 

Ned Kahn (b. 1960, Connecticut) is an environmental artist and sculptor who creates installation works that explore, mimic, and play with forces and phenomena found in nature. Kahn’s artworks, at the intersection of art and science, invite audiences to immerse themselves into natural elements such as tornadoes, fog, clouds, and wind currents—or turbulences, as he calls them. A Bay Area resident for over twenty years, his hybrid work, as a synthesis of nature, art, and technology, makes the invisible forces of nature suddenly visible to the viewers’ eyes. http://nedkahn.com/

 

Watch video artist Benjy Young’s video poem about the entire process of making the artwork; from the inspiration and research of the artist to the finished design of the “Negev Wheel” installed at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. Todd Barricklow and his Ned Kahn Studios crew along with Justin Limoges and the Museum’s crew assemble the artwork so Ned can coax the exact perpetual avalanche of Negev sand for his show.

Ned Kahn: Negev Wheel from Benjy Young on Vimeo.

A Clean Swell Schoolyard Cleanup

2016 California Coastal Cleanup Day

Every year, on the third Saturday in September, people join together at sites all over California to take part in the State’s largest volunteer event, California Coastal Cleanup Day. In 2015, more than 68,000 volunteers removed nearly 1,143,000 pounds of trash and recyclables from California’s beaches, lakes, and waterways. Families, friends, coworkers, scout troops, school groups, service clubs, and individuals come together to celebrate and share their appreciation of California’s fabulous coast and waterways. The event is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, organized by the Ocean Conservancy, which is the largest volunteer event on the planet!

Students have a way to participate in Coastal Cleanup Day even if they can not get out to a beach or local waterway. Schools can organize a Schoolyard Cleanup on the Friday prior to the weekend event and join in the efforts to protect our coast and ocean, no matter where their schools are located!
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Rooftop Alternaive PreK-8 School is located at the geographic center of San Francisco.

Schoolyard Cleanup at Rooftop’s Burnett Campus

It was a week of connecting the dots, as Rooftop School celebrated Dot Day on Tuesday, September 14 and wrapped up the week with an effort of caring for The Pale Blue Dot.” 

On Friday, September 16, 2016, the students at Rooftop’s Burnett Campus participated in a Schoolyard Cleanup. The students worked in teams to collect data about the trash that they found on the playground and documented their findings with digital cameras and video. Ms. Woo and Ms. Kennedy’s fourth graders collectively gathered 5.05.011 lbs. of trash from the schoolyard. Next, the students will assess the challenges and propose their own solutions for how they might help their school site to stay clean.

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Just like water, trash can move through a watershed, down streets, through storm drains, creeks and rivers, and eventually out to a lake or the ocean. Preventing and removing litter in school yards and neighborhoods is stopping marine debris before it happens is a very important action that students can take to protect our coast and ocean and the creatures that depend on a healthy ecosystem to survive.

Learn more about participating in California Coastal Cleanup Day at http://www.coastal.ca.gov/publiced/schoolyard/

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MAKE YOUR MARK! International Dot Day @ Rooftop School

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September 15th marks the anniversary of the publication of best-selling author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds’ The Dot, a “story book for all ages.”

Author Peter Reynolds told School Library Journal. “I pinch myself, thinking that four decades ago I was being told to stop drawing in my classes and pay attention, and here we are in 2016 with a school sanctioned day to celebrate creativity.”

The Dot more than anything celebrates the power of creative teaching,” Reynolds explains. “Despite the test-centric world we live in, creative teachers know how to find those aha moments — much the same way that my 7th grade math teacher Mr. Matson ‘connected the dots’ between math and art, which changed my life.” To honor that moment, Reynolds dedicated The Dot to Mr. Matson.

Rooftop School is joining the The Dot Club fun & inviting you to read-alongdraw-along, and even sing-along!

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To get things started, Rooftop librarian Tamra Marshall will be reading THE DOT with all K-2 classes.

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#DOTDAY LIVESTREAM

On Tuesday, September 13 at 10am, we’re connecting the dots via Skype and Discovery Education in the Burnett MPR. #CelebrateWithDE 

Author Peter H. Reynolds travels to the place where Dot Day began with Dot Day founder Terry Shay, a teacher at North Tama School in Traer, Iowa. Reynolds, Shay, and the students of North Tama will come together to celebrate creativity, courage, and collaboration on the 7th Annual International Dot Day. http://www.discoveryeducation.com/Events/monthly-themes/dot-day-2016.cfm 

#ArtIsAtTheCenter: DOT CENTRAL

Be sure to sign your work and share your dot art on International #DotDay – Thursday, September 15, 2016! Let’s fill “Dot Central” – aka the Burnett MPR – with some fresh art!

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THE PALE BLUE DOT & COASTAL CLEANUP DAY

Then, help us to take care of the most important dot of all — “The Pale Blue” Dot! In celebration of Coastal Cleanup Day 2016, Rooftop School will hold a Schoolyard Cleanup on Friday, September 16.

Pale Blue Dot from ORDER Productions on Vimeo.

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The trash gathered at school will be weighed and our information will be entered into the official International Coastal Cleanup Day database.

WHAT IS COASTAL CLEANUP DAY?

Every year, on the third Saturday in September, people join together at sites all over California to take part in the State’s largest volunteer event, California Coastal Cleanup Day. In 2015, more than 68,000 volunteers removed nearly 1,143,000 pounds of trash and recyclables from California’s beaches, lakes, and waterways.

Families, friends, coworkers, scout troops, school groups, service clubs, and individuals come together to celebrate and share their appreciation of California’s fabulous coast and waterways. The event is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, organized by the Ocean Conservancy, which is the largest volunteer event on the planet!

California Coastal Cleanup Day 2016 is Saturday, September 17, 2016

 

Cultural Exchange: Kung Fu Panda 3

With the success of the 2008 animated film Kung Fu Panda, Chinese moviegoers praised the film’s depiction of Chinese culture and careful attention to details, “from the martial arts scenes to its depiction of family expectations and how the ancients were believed to pass into the afterlife.”  Wu Jiang, president of the National Peking Opera Company, told the official New China News Agency, “The film’s protagonist is China’s national treasure and all the elements are Chinese, but why didn’t we make such a film?”

Now, eight years laterKung Fu Panda 3 is DreamWorks’ first official U.S./China co-produced film opening simultaneously in the US and China on January 29Po the kung fu-fighting panda, Oogway, Shifu, and the Furious Five return in Kung Fu Panda 3.

Thanks to the San Francisco Film Society’s Education Program, Kung Fu Panda comes to Rooftop School. On Friday, January 8th at 12:30pm, 3rd, 4th and 7th grade students will attend a special presentation with Kung Fu Panda 3’s producer Melissa Cobb and co-directors Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh Nelson (who has the distinction of being the first woman to direct a big-budget animated film for a major studio).

The film’s creative team will share how the Kung Fu Panda 3 artists researched China’s culture (architecture, food, clothing, and, of course, kung fu!) for the film. The artists were also inspired by China’s natural beauty, the country’s distinct landscapes and wildlife — including the endangered golden monkey, South China tiger, red panda, and Giant pandaWe’ll get a peek at scenes from the new movie, enjoy a drawing demonstration and Q&A with the filmmakers.

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Weather permitting, the entire school is invited to come to the circle for a post-presentation performance which will include a Shaolin animal-style kung fu demonstration with special guests.

There will also be an art activity available for all classes to make their own bolang gu, a Chinese rattle drum, one of the earliest toys dating back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Practice playing your drum with friends and use your power to speak up for Giant Pandas.

Kung Fu Panda Art

Meet the Characters of Kung Fu Panda

Meet the Creative Team

Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Alessandro Carloni

DreamWorks Animation invited artists, photographers, designers and illustrators worldwide to create art that illustrated Po on his journey home for Kung Fu Panda 3. Inspired by Po, his friends and all the amazing places around the world, artists went straight to work and submitted over 400 stunning submissions of Po in different continents. Whether he was fighting bulls in Spain, trying on some lederhosen in Munich, riding the train in New York, or even attending a festival in India, Po popped up in almost every landmark around the world.

Five Animals Kung Fu

The foundation of the Southern Shaolin martial art systems can be attributed to these five animals – Snake, Tiger, Leopard and Crane, and the mythological Dragon.

Part of the kung fu student’s training is to emulate the spirit and the movement of these animals. They are instructed to visit the city zoo and the library to study the quintessence nature of the animal.

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Sifu Young Wong of the EY Lee Kung Fu School teaches third graders some animal style kung fu.

Panda Resources & Links:

Explore.org: Happiness Village – Pandas in Gengda, China

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding: Panda Live

National Zoo: Giant Panda Cam

 

Nature Works Everywhere: Virtual Field Trip to China’s Great Forests

Join expert scientist Yue Wang, a conservation planning officer for The Nature Conservancy, on a virtual field trip across the world to two stunning provinces in China—Sichuan and Yunnan. Explore majestic forests, towering mountains, and other iconic landscapes. While examining the role these vital natural areas play in the carbon cycle and climate change, as well as the benefits of reforestation, we will learn about the magnificent creatures who call these habitats home: giant pandas, golden snub-nosed monkeys, and the elusive and odd-looking takin.

 

World Wildlife Fund: What is the story behind the panda logo of WWF?

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Aware of the need for a strong symbol that would overcome all language barriers, founders of the World Wildlife Fund chose the Giant Panda. “We wanted an animal that is beautiful, is endangered, and one loved by many people in the world for its appealing qualities.” The black-and-white panda has since come to stand as a symbol for the conservation movement as a whole.

“Wish & Chips” STEAM Challenge

Autodesk-GalleryOn Tuesday, May 12th, Rooftop students and their families have an exciting opportunity to visit the Autodesk Gallery, from 6pm-8:30pm.

Autodesk, Inc., is a leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software. Customers across the manufacturing, architecture, building, construction, and media and entertainment industries—including the last 19 Academy Award winners for Best Visual Effects—use Autodesk software to design, visualize, and simulate their ideas before they’re ever built or created.

Bringing together stories of exceptional design and engineering from across the globe, the Autodesk Gallery celebrates the creative process and shows how people are using new technology to imagine, design, and create a better world.

Named a top destination by Wired magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle, the gallery features more than 20 exhibits, including original works by Lego, Mercedes-Benz, Nike, and more.

Rooftop students are invited to tour the Autodesk Gallery and to learn more about how STEAM learning is bringing nature and technology together with The Hummingbird Effect, thanks to a mini-grant from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Celebrate Urban Birds.

Try folding an origami bird or put your design & engineering skills to the test with the “Wish & Chips” STEAM Challenge. Students are invited to design and test a package to safely ship a single Pringles Potato Chip through the US Postal Service to Rooftop School. Packages must be postmarked and received by Friday, May 22, 2015 to be eligible. 

Download a pdf of the Wish & Chips STEAM Challenge.

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A Poem Lovely as a Tree

The Family Tree

Visual artist FLO OY WONG loves poetry. At the age of 75, Flo set her sights on becoming a poet, and she has worked diligently to master the art of writing poetry. To quote the National Center for Creative Aging, “There is no doubt Mrs. Wong will carry out her plan to keep working as long as she is able to do so.”  A vibrant elder, Flo dives into new challenges with whole-hearted gusto.

Last November 2013, the students of Rooftop School received a very special present from Flo — their own art show. Rooftop Art’s “A Slice of Life” at the Luggage Store Annex was a companion show to Flo’s 75th birthday show, “The Whole Pie.”  As a nod to Flo’s interest in poetry, visitors were invited to stroll through the Tenderloin National Forest to read poems written by Ms. Woo’s 4th graders.

This year, as Flo celebrated her 76th birthday with family in New York, Flo revealed that she was working on a new project with her granddaughter Sasha. As a visiting artist in Sasha’s classroom, Flo used visual art to help children to see the poetry in trees. At home, Flo and Sasha worked together to make a very special tree box.

We thank Flo, Sasha and Ms. Robin Farrell’s 3rd grade class at Hillside Elementary School in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York for sharing their process, their art, and their mutual love of trees.

Seeing Trees

FLO: My tree project with Sasha started when I was home in Sunnyvale.  I took pictures of these trees when I was going on daily walks.  I sent them to Sasha after she asked to see the tree trunks I was talking about.  My husband Ed knew about my tree-sharing and he began to point out trees to me.  There was one, in particular, which inspired me to write my poem, Tree Trunk.

Fast forward to mid-October when I taught a tree-drawing lesson in her 3rd grade class.  The day before the other lesson her teacher selected, Sasha gave me input. She told me she didn’t want me to repeat what I had taught in her 2nd grade class.

Flo suggested that the class learn how to draw trees, a spontaneous decision that met with Sasha’s approval. Flo discussed trees, focusing mainly on color of trunks.  After demonstrating how to draw a tree Flo told the 3rd graders they could draw either realistic or fantasy trees.  The criteria?  They had to fill their paper top to bottom, side to side. She introduced them to non-dominant hand drawing and requested one tree be drawn with their non-dominant hand.  Then, the students needed to create interest in the negative spaces. They also wrote tree stories.  One boy, a ballet dancer at the Met, drew a dancing tree.  A girl created one with swirling energy in the trees and the surrounding environment. The hour lesson turned the students into vibrant and energetic tree detectives.

When the class was through, Sasha conducted an exit interview with her grandmother about the lesson. Sasha’s critique: She would have cut back the drawing time so more artists could share their work with her grandmother.

FLO: What I liked so much about the lesson was this – I integrated my love of poetry and art for this eye-opening, heartwarming classroom experience. In the evening at home Sasha and I memorized Joyce Kilmer’s poem.  We recited it around the dinner table.

Sasha memorizes Joyce Kilmer’s poem Trees, just as her grandmother had done when she was a young student at Lincoln School in Oakland Chinatown. Flo learned and recited Trees for a tree planting ceremony. She recalled, “We buried a time box with the tree. I wonder if our box has been uncovered. I have remembered Trees for over 60 years.” Sasha and Flo also listened to Louis Armstrong and Paul Robeson sing their musical settings of Kilmer’s poem.

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Trees drawn by Ms. Robin Farrell’s 3rd grade class at Hillside Elementary School (Art by Andreas, Andrei, Aynsley, Bianca, Bruno, Clara, Dominick, Erin, Graham, Hamilton, Joshua, Leo, Luke, Max, Mia, Michaela, Nathaniel, Paul, Salett, Sasha, Yogev & Zev)

Flo and Sasha’s TREE BOX

When Sasha and Flo find a 1930s box at the local antique store, they decided to make a box tree art project. Sasha includes Joyce Kilmer’s poem (partial) and her Paw Paw’s poem.  Flo adds some color atop of the colored pencils Sasha used to render the tree.

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Sasha includes two blue porcelain miniature birds that she has purchased from the antique store.

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Sasha makes a tree out of a paper bag fragment to add to the tree box.

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As a surprise, Flo adds a bird to the lower right front of the box, while Sasha is away at school.

When the box is finished, grandmother and granddaughter take some time to reflect on the process of making The Tree Box together.  Flo and Sasha use Flo’s iPhone to record their shared memory of three and a half weeks of bonding and intergenerational learning.

Make that Change

Marcus & The North Star

Composer/educator Marcus Shelby received a Blue Marble in 2010 that he took with him to Japan when conducting the Count Basie Orchestra at the Blue Note in Tokyo. Marcus has since been exploring environmental issues in his own work as a composer of music and in his role as a teaching artist at Rooftop School. In his residency this year, Marcus introduced our K-8 students to the music of the cool jazz period, and shared the history of the green movement. His “Green & Blues” residency used music to illustrate environmental concepts, such as the 3+Rs, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Transport, and Waste Management. Music is a fantastic means to engage, involve, unify and spur people to action.

With The North Star Project in 2012, students explored the theme of the green economy and sustainability, and they talked about what they could do themselves to encourage others to “go green” and “live blue. They created their own artistic responses with poetry, music, dance and drama, and worked with art teacher Cyndy Sugawara to create eco-awareness video PSA’s for two community performances. The student-led performances also featured students as the set designers, stage managers, DJ’s and emcees.

 

Dezyre & Max are two best friends at Rooftop who were inspired to act after attending the North Star assembly. After seeing a PSA created by a Rooftop 8th grader, Daniel, about the impact of plastic pollution on the ocean, they were especially saddened to see a photo of a turtle eating a plastic bag. Dezyre and Max were determined to do something to help and they worked together to start a litter club. After Dezyre made a sign inviting others to join their efforts, and their teacher, Mr. John Mayhew shared his student’s plans.

Dezyre and Max really wanted to share their story, so we documented their daily routine on the playground using the Flip Camera received from EarthEcho. Their video is scored with music by Marcus Shelby, who graciously offered his support to our student effort to make a change.

Kids working together with their friends to create change on behalf of The Blue Marble.