This spring I was asked to create afterschool curriculum for G.A.T.E. students (a “gifted and talented” designation based on test scores.) In March we did a series on Greek and Latin roots, and last week we began a unit called “Garden G.A.T.E.”
The garden currently has two gates (this one and this one.) A third gate is underway by the world-renowned artist James Hubbell. This is a jaw-droppingly wonderful development and deserves a series of posts all by itself. Stay tuned on that one.
To prepare students to hear from Mr. Hubbell next week and get them excited about this soon-to-arrive art piece, we had an interactive slideshow on gates. With enthusiasm, the students responded to photos of our current gates, a drawing of the Hubbell gate and images of gates from around the world. With each entranceway, we looked at the questions 1) What does it look like? 2) What is its story? and 3) What is its purpose? As we talked back and forth, we developed a running list of words that describe what gates can do: frame a view, direct traffic, commemorate an event, serve as visual interest, be a focal point in a landscape, welcome or exclude, stand as important symbols….
To process all of the rich visuals and descriptive vocabulary, Marisa then asked them to do a 15 minute drawing of a gate and give it a name. The students could imagine a real gate they wanted to build (to frame a favorite view) or a metaphorical one in their lives (such as a doorway between elementary school and junior high.) Here’s one quick sketch I really like by 6th grade student, Bradon Hoover: