Students explore arts at camp

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jun 27, 2012 in Rat News | Subscribe


“What does green sound like?”

That’s one of the questions fourth- and fifth-grade students in Columbia Public Schools’ Arts Explorers Camp at Shepard Boulevard Elementary School were asked to contemplate.

“Green sounds like a bush rustling with excitement,” said Paisli Ivey, 9. Once Paisli jotted down her answer in a journal, she worked with other students to incorporate their visions into a poem and then a musical composition.

The group, named Dynamic, came up with a poem that takes place in a pond where there are ducks flapping their wings, gators swimming and even the Hulk “smashing things.” Paisli said she used a xylophone to create the sound of a bush in their musical composition.

The activity, based on “My Many Colored Days” by Dr. Seuss, was one of four activities that students have worked on for the past few weeks. By the end of the week, the youngsters will combine their color project with the rest of their classmates’ projects and then the rest of the camp — each group focused on a different color.

The camp, which started three years ago, takes some of the district’s most creative kids — about four or five from each elementary school are nominated by a teacher — and brings them together for a camp full of music and visual art activities.

“I like that you really get to express your feelings here,” said Paisli, a Ridgeway Elementary student.

Aside from writing poems and compositions, the youngsters also spent this morning tapping out a beat in a drum circle, painting sculptures or weaving, a task selected based on this year’s theme — Weaving our World.

“It means we all really come together to make the world a better place and make a difference,” Nadia Lake, a Derby Ridge fourth-grader, explained as she painted a clay sculpture of a rat dressed like a doctor.

The students were asked what they believe in, and then they created sculptures of their “guardians” based on those beliefs. Nadia said she believes in good health for her pet rats.

So far, Nadia said, the camp has been a good experience. “I really like it because I get to do some of my favorite things every day, and I get to meet new people,” she said.

Her favorite activity has been weaving in Gennie Pfannenstiel’s class, where students learned about the history of the Navajo tribe through a traditional tale.

Kids in her class have taken to weaving quickly, Pfannenstiel said, and many have said it’s relaxing and have opted to take projects home. Pfannenstiel has taught at the camp for all three years and said it is a good chance for kids to thrive on creativity and inspiration.

“It’s just a powerful experience for them,” she said. “I believe it makes them leaders when they go back into their schools.”

The students make the camp a great experience for Pfannenstiel, too, she said.

“It’s the eagerness of the children to jump right into ideas … their enthusiasm and willingness to take risks,” she said. “I learn so much from them.”

The camp will end this week with final performances at 7 p.m. Thursday and 9:30 a.m. Friday at Shepard Boulevard Elementary, 2616 Shepard Blvd.

Reach Catherine Martin at 573-815-1711 or e-mail

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