The side of Josie's hand is lightly smeared with blue. It's the mark of an artist unwittingly wearing her creativity.
A maker of art
"I like to do art. I like to draw and paint with pencils and crayons," she says.
Once a week in art class, Josie adds pieces to her art journal, which she'll get to bring home at the end of the school year. In the last art class, the students colored lightly over leafs to make relief works. Josie points to another art project she has hanging in the hallway. "We have painted our sky picture. I painted mine a big heart with sky color around it. Now sky color is not just one color. It’s not just blue. It’s not just gray. It’s not just white. It’s a lot of color." Her media of choice were oil pastels and watercolors.
Josie doesn't focus on art solely in art class. At school, she colors every day during choice time, the time she describes as "when you get to do whatever you want—you get to do coloring, Legos, iPads." Josie says she colors "in coloring books, on paper, whatever, except for on walls."
A maker of stuff
During innovation class, Josie says they "make stuff." And of course, if there's free choice time in innovation class, she makes art then, too. "Mr. Reynaud [the innovation teacher] will put out coloring for the artists," she says.
Josie says Mr. Reynaud gives them lots of different projects to do and teaches them about architects and buildings. This week, she says, they made automatic arms out of Legos and different types of linking and sticking blocks. "They're arms that can move by themselves," she explains. "Like if something is too heavy for you to move, an automatic arm can pick it up for you." And if something is too heavy for the automatic arm to pick up, she says, you use the inclined plane. "Then you roll it up. Even cavemen had to do it."
A maker of stories
Josie says she likes writing workshop, but not that often. She admits that she's good at writing workshop and at sounding out words. Her class just published their how-to books. Josie's book was about how to pick your dog—a fitting subject given her family has three dogs and a tortoise.
"So, first you go to the animal shelter and you look at the dogs," she says. "Once you’ve decided, you ask the pet store person which one you’d like and she’ll get it for you or he’ll get it for you. Then you get it home and you name it. Then you walk and feed the dog. That’s how pick your dog!"
When asked what it means to publish a book, she says, "Have you ever read a book with titles? So that’s when you publish a book. You put a title and you share it with the world."
Josie's own story is likely to remain tied to art. She wants to be an artist when she grows up. Asked to explain why she loves art, Josie says, "Art's the easiest thing to do because there are no rules.
What kind of foods do you like to eat?
Potatoes. And pickles. Every kind of pickles.
How do you like your potatoes cooked?
I like mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, scalloped potatoes, whatever.
What's your favorite book?
I like Down, Down, Down [A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea by Steve Jenkins]. I don’t like reading the same book over and over and over again.
What happens in Down, Down, Down?
So we go deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper until we hit the bottom of the ocean. First we explore the top of the ocean. Then we go more underwater and more underwater and more underwater and more underwater until we get to the most precious, which is the bottom of the ocean. People have not meant to go down there.
What’s something you learned at school this week?
We learned that good readers don’t just start reading the book. They flip through the book. It's so we can understand the characters and what they’ll do. But we don’t read the words. We only look at the pictures.