Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Art Beat

Picasso said “Every child is an artist” and working with my students that becomes even more evident every day. The students have all displayed incredible amounts of creativity and enthusiasm. I often feel that giving an art assignment is like spilling a jar of colored marbles. Each one starts from the same location, but they all take off in their own direction. We began the year with an exercise that I often use to get the creativity flowing. Every child received a sketch book and created an original complicated paper cover design. The diversity of this assignment was outstanding! The children’s personalities really stood out as they chose what to put into their collage. The students who were visual learners, went after photos and images found in old books and magazines, while the more academic minded hunted for words and phrases in passages of text. Some students preferred to cover their collage with rubber stamp images, while others enjoyed embellishing their cover with paint. So while everyone had the same torn paper based cover for their sketchbook, I can honestly say that no two sketch books are alike. I am working with two different curriculums this year. A Treasury of Art, for the Kindergarten and First Graders and Art Everywhere (levels 1, 3 &5) for the 2nd through 8th grades. These curriculums are very exciting and will be described in detail on my future posts. A Treasury of Art offers a look at famous pieces of art work, while teaching new basic and important art skills with each lesson. Art Everywhere explores the elements of art and design. Each level is a 2 year curriculum that offers exploration of the elements in new and interesting ways. The assignments enhance lessons, offer new skills and provide a way for students to reinforce the lessons, use self expression, interact with each other and explore their inner ego.

Aside from teaching, another part of my job that I love is facilitating other projects for the teachers in our school. Sometimes that can be as easy as providing a space for the students to work on creative assignments, but more often it means offering help, advice, supplies and general guidance. I really enjoy interacting and collaborating with other teachers and getting involved with other programs that are going on in school. (The most interesting request that I had been to appear on stage as an extra in one of the school plays - No one knew it was me because I was underneath a prayer shawl.)

We have three fantastic art experiences coming up at MHA.
On November 20th the 1st & 2nd graders will be treated to a visitor from the Dixon Gallery & Gardens. Sarah will do a project with them that will explore the concept of Butterflies and Symmetry Design. The 3rd, 4th & 5th graders will also meet with Sarah later that day to explore sculpture and mixed media.
On December 2nd the 7th & 8th grade girls will be traveling downtown to the Center For Southern Folklore where they will get a chance to explore the center, meet with a local artist, create a project that involves recycling and eat lunch in the multi sensational dining room.
On January 28th the 6th grade will be going to the Brooks Museum of Art. There they will receive a guided tour about people, places and things and then create a hands on project in the museum studio.

I am looking forward to a fun filled exciting year of creativity. I hope to post more about our creative experiences soon.

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