Hoping to provide a GATE to Mark Twain students’ creative side | NevadaAppeal.com

Hoping to provide a GATE to Mark Twain students’ creative side

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Bradley Miller, 10, a fifth-grader at Mark Twain Elementary traces the outline of Picasso's 'Maia with a Doll' in the window of Paul Ford's art class on Wednesday. Miller, along with other students, is part of the Gifted and Academically Talented Education Exploration Program.

It’s not often that a tea cup becomes a teaching aid, but Wednesday afternoon a ceramic white cup covered with cats helped students at Mark Twain Elementary grasp dimensions.

The students were part of the district’s Gifted and Academically Talented Education or Exploration Program. The session was one of several that will take place throughout the year during early-out days.

Wednesday, the students in Paul Ford’s session were continuing their unit on Picasso.

“They chose Picasso for the unit,” Ford said. “They had the impression he was kind of a fun guy.”

The students started the lesson by drawing a portrait of a Picasso painting, upside down.

“We do it to help them unleash their creativity and think outside of the box,” Ford said. “It encourages them to objectify the shapes and lines. It’s an exercise in drawing with the right side of the brain.”

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Ford used the cup as an example of seeing the dimensions and how with all objects, there is one facet that can’t be seen from a given angle. For example, the back side of the cup.

Ford then talked about how Picasso wanted his audience to be able to see all sides, forcing him to paint using a fourth dimension.

To complete the lesson, the students were asked to sketch and then paint Picasso’s “Maia with a Doll.”

“I like learning about this. It teaches us the different ways to draw and the different types of drawing. I really liked the upside down drawing, because you have to draw it just the right way or you get the entire picture wrong,” said Bradley Miller, 10.

Across the hall, other GATE students were learning to use similes and metaphors to write poetry.

“The idea is to get them to think about comparing things and looking at the world,” said Teresa Breeden, guest teacher and poet.

In previous sessions, the students were given a variety of objects including dragonflies, rattlesnake rattles, potato bugs and their own palms. They were asked to draw, then describe the objects looking for a resemblance to other objects.

Wrinkles look like Japanese writing or scratches on a crashed car. A rattlesnake rattle resembles a ladder or smushed together rolls.

Wednesday, they wrote a poem using those comparisons.

“I don’t care if they remember anything from today,” Breeden said. “I just hope they end up writing, one year or 10 years down the road.”

There are more than 200 GATE students district-wide and each school sets different curriculum to help challenge the students both in and out of the classroom.

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.