Interview with Martha Bjorklund

I am honored to introduce Martha Bjorklund to the blog-o-sphere! She works as our Enrichment Specialist in Lower School at Allendale Columbia School. We have been planning a collaboration for about a month now. On Monday I had the pleasure of filming and photographing the work of her First Grade enrichment students as they read, illustrated, and acted out a play about being active and healthy.

ArtwithmsB: Will you tell my audience about your role as the Enrichment Specialist?

Mrs. Bjorklund:  I work with teachers and students from Nursery to Fifth Grade in the Lower School.  I write curriculum to support classroom projects, and I work with lots of students daily on a variety of topics.

ArtwithmsB: What kinds of opportunities have you had this year in your new role?

Mrs. Bjorklund: I have had many great opportunities this year doing a variety of projects with individuals, small groups, and whole class activities. Some of the projects I have worked on have been on the Wampanaugs, how steel is made, Antony Leeuwenhoek and the discovery of the first microscope, totem poles, coral, skiing, and salt. I also love the opportunity to meet and speak to parents about my role in the Lower School and how exciting and beneficial  it is to students to be able to explore their interests. Over the February break I had an opportunity to speak with Diane Broberg, chair of the Upper School Math Department at the NYSAIS conference, Teaching With Technology. We shared with independent school educators how we have incorporated literature with math lessons, and then showed the group what apps to use with the lesson.

ArtwithmsB: What is your favorite part about working with the Lower School?

Mrs. Bjorklund: I am able to reach and spend time with so many children in all different ways. I also feel like I know all the children in the Lower School even if I have not yet had the opportunity to work with them on a specific project. I also love  the opportunity to go into all of the classroom and be able to see what is being taught and try to make curricular connections that I can share with teachers and students.

ArtwithmsB: Can you explain the creative process that evolved while your students were planning and making the video?

Mrs. Bjorklund: Phoenix brought in a book from home that she felt could be a good play. As a group we brainstormed and decided we could make a video. They instantly started to make picture cards and write text that went along with the picture cards. I helped them keep track of where they were in the process between each class. It was a four-week project and they were very enthusiastic throughout. When it came time to film only three members of the group were there due to illness. When we filmed the children acted out many of the exercise moves which was spontaneous and added immensely to the film.

ArtwithmsB: Looking back reflectively on the project what about it was successful? Would you do this kind of project again, and if so is there anything you would change about it?

Mrs. Bjorklund: The children loved every aspect of this project. They worked as a group to plan, draw, write, and ultimately film. I would happily do a film project again. I might change film location on the next project and this might be exciting for the children to film in a different location outside of our work space.

ArtwithmsB: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions. Now without further ado here is the video that we made using our Kodak Playfull digital HD video cameras and iMovie.

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