Exploring Art with No Wrong Answers

One of our Middle School Exploration courses, Abstract Painting, was featured in the Half Moon Bay Review. Read below!

For many children, middle school offers the first taste of academic freedom, as students can choose electives in addition to traditional core classes.

Sea Crest Middle School offers a variety of electives to encourage students to explore topics they might not have been exposed to previously.

In addition to computer programming and poetry, young scholars at Sea Crest can also create origami rockets or go myth-busting with a beloved science teacher.

Abstract Art is also one of these explorations. Students who didn’t consider themselves to be artistic are finding an affinity for art after taking this course.

“In the class, Abstract Art has helped me become more artistic, because, before, I wasn’t really into art,” said Kai Guevara. “Now I really like the class because it shows that I can be creative.”

Abstract art isn’t about the perfect placement of physical objects on canvas. It’s an exploration of relationships of forms as well as layers of color and texture.

“With abstract art, there’s no object and no person,” said Sea Crest seventh-grader Nataly Gijon. “It’s just random shapes in different orders as well as different colors combined together.”

Regardless of the techniques used, there are no wrong answers in this class. Students in the class experiment with pigments of color. Some try broad brush strokes across the canvas; others create circles of varying shades.

“You can draw whatever you want and it will end up being something,” said eighth-grader Rose Geller.

“Exploring Art with No Wrong Answers,” Half Moon Bay Review


Creativity and Confidence: The All-School Musical

A key component of Sea Crest’s mission is empowering our learners to express creativity. This holds true for our core classes as well as our enrichment programs, and in each subject we focus on student-centered learning and curricular innovation.

For the performing arts, student-centered learning means that children are integrally involved in every aspect of the All-School Musical. Each student, from Kindergarten through Eighth Grade, is part of either the cast or the crew for the production. In recent years, Middle School students have also taken on the role of scriptwriters, and they storyboard and write the Musical as part of a “Page to Stage” Explorations course. Middle Schoolers also learn the foundations of technical theater in a “Behind the Scenes” Exploration.

“We believe in finding and implementing the most innovative and creative ways to teach and learn with children at Sea Crest, and I think we get better at this endeavor every year,” says Spanish Teacher Michaela O’Connor, who led the backstage crew for the Musical. “Our core beliefs in hands-on inquiry, compassion, and character education, and in becoming more and more innovative, are what sets us apart from other schools.”

“This experiential learning opportunity gives students a chance to showcase skills and concepts they have learned in Drama and Music classes,” says Music Teacher Cathy Bleecker. “They develop perseverance, teamwork, and confidence through this wonderful tradition.”

“It is an amazing joy to watch students from all grades work together to create a work of art,” agrees Drama Teacher Michael Lederman.

The Musical involves the wider community as well. We partner with the Coastal Repertory Theatre to provide an authentic theater experience for students, and our families volunteer to coordinate costumes, supervise the green room, and lend their expertise. Each year – due to the number of people involved and the quality of the production – tickets sell out for every performance.

Last year’s Eighth Graders reported that the All-School Musical would be the experience they would remember most about their time at Sea Crest. It conveys our school’s culture and spirit, bringing the community together to express how much we value the arts as part of a well-rounded education. The confidence and poise students gain from the experience ensures that they not only learn to express creativity, but also learn to lead with courage.

“Education in the arts is just as important as education in Math, Science, or English,” says Sea Crest alumna Amanda Odasz. “Theater was where I learned about teamwork and valuing the people around me and what they have to offer. It was where I found a sense of family.”

“I got really close with a lot of people through the theater experience,” says Lucas Gust, who graduated from Sea Crest in 2007. “And I’m still friends with them today.”

To watch highlights from the 2016 Musical, visit vimeo.com/seacrestschool/mavericks.

To view a short film about Sea Crest’s All-School Musical, please click here.


Maverick of a Musical

Sea Crest’s All-School Musical was recently featured in the Half Moon Bay Review. The production took place March 8th – 11th, 2016. Read the story below!

Aspiring performers set out on “The Road to Mavericks” last week.

Fledgling young talent, ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade, sang and danced in multiple sold-out shows at the Coastal Repertory Theatre.

Sea Crest School’s “Road to Mavericks” followed four young whippersnappers as they set out across Route 66 in search of Mavericks’ monstrous waves.

Along the way, the entire school broke into song and dance, from kindergarteners dancing the hula in grass skirts at a Hawaiian-themed burger barn to saucy fifth-graders cutting it up to “Footloose” in Amarillo.

“What I like about having the kindergarteners and Lower School in the musical is that you get to interact with other kids,” said Nicole Cordova, who played the lead role of Jessica.

“Just seeing them perform and getting to do what you used to do when you were younger, it really brings back memories,” she said.

Finn Rollings and Kai Guevara had the audience in stitches as Colin and Josh, two guys determined to participate in Mavericks even though they have no idea what they are getting themselves into.

Jasmine Franklin, Taylor Keith, Zoe Grisim and Nicole Cordova sparkled during the New Orleans scenes, which included Madame Camilla’s Fortune Telling Shop and later a Masked Ball.

Behind the scenes, the lead crew, running crew and other support composed of Sea Crest Middle School students kept the entire show running smoothly.

Notable here is that the entire production was produced, performed and crewed by Sea Crest Middle School students. The entire performance, a full-length musical, was made possible by their collective brainpower.

“There’s a class, an elective, headed by Michael Lederman, who also directed the play,” said Rollings, who played the lead as Colin.

“He just sat down and gave the kids the idea. Then, the Middle School students would bring their computers and write a script,” Rollings said. “Once they narrowed it down to the script that they wanted, they’d take parts from some that they liked and some that they didn’t like and came up with the final script.”

In addition to learning the technical aspects behind producing and acting in a performance, students learned life lessons as well.

“The Sea Crest musical has helped me come out of my shell,” said Rollings. “I’ve developed confidence and people skills.”

Being in the musical also helped Cordova adjust to a new school. She started attending Sea Crest when she transitioned from elementary school to middle school.

“I came here in sixth grade from El Granada,” said Cordova.

“When I came to this school, I started performing in the musicals,” she said. “I thought it was really amazing because most schools don’t exactly have an all-school musical.”

Younger kids, who don’t normally have the lead roles, also have opportunities for character development.

During this production, the kids learned that sometimes life throws a curve ball, and, when that happens, you just have to keep on going.

“There was one time where we experienced technical difficulties,” said Cordova. “The fourth-graders handled it very well. They were just very professional. They just kept going without freezing.”

“They just kept singing,” agreed Rollings.

“Maverick of a Musical,” Half Moon Bay Review


What’s New in Art Class

Art at Sea CrestOur new Art Teacher, Mr. Birdsong, brings 15 years of teaching experience to Sea Crest. He is a professional cartoonist who has taught at schools in Palo Alto, Florida, and Japan. He holds a B.F.A. in Graphic Design from Howard University, and he recently published a new book called Livin’ in Japan Ain’t Easy, featuring 200 of his comic strips.

Read below for updates from Mr. Birdsong’s fall classes!

Kindergarteners are becoming comfortable with many different media, including oil pastels, watercolor, and acrylic paint. They have made abstract art and learned about primary and secondary colors.

First Graders started the year with self-portraits and have moved on to drawing oil pastel landscapes. They are learning about foreground and background and how to paint using multiple colors at the same time.

Second Graders illustrated what they might look like as animals. Using a chart of facial expressions, they worked on drawing six different portraits, coloring each one in a Pop Art style.

Third Graders are learning to draw 3D geometric shapes so that they can create realistic landscapes. They went outside to do observational drawings and are now creating fantasy landscapes from their imaginations.

Fourth Graders used mixed media to create self-portraits at the beginning of the year. They then designed their own anthropomorphic animals and drew them from different points of view. They have used this design to sculpt their characters out of clay and create color illustrations of their characters interacting with humans.

Fifth Graders drew illustrations for Coastside Land Trust seed packets, which were sold as a fundraiser during the Pumpkin Festival. For their next project, they created colorful self-portraits on transparency paper using photographs and acrylic paint.

Middle Schoolers enjoyed two Art Explorations during first trimester. In Mixed Media Painting, they painted on canvas boards and used a drip technique and small objects to create colorful textures. In order to create paintings with raised elements, they used papier-mâché and foil. In Visual Storytelling, students learned techniques for laying out a comic page and practiced how to tell stories through art. They used materials such as bristol board paper, non-photo blue pencils, Pigma Micron pens, oil pastels, and colored pencils.


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