SchoolArts Magazine

September 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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40 SEPTEMBER 2018 SchoolArts A rt has the power to help stu- dents make connections to oth- ers and themselves. An experi- ence in visual arts should be r ich in inspiration, yet allow students to explore and discover their own voice through subject, media, and technique. Finding that inspiration that hooks the learner can result in meaningful and connected process and product. H aving raised and taught my own daughter, I understand the importance and significance that a stuffed animal can have in a child's life. It can be com - panion, comforter, part of a collection, a s well as a myriad of other childhood uses. So, to emphasize the concept of still life and support a personal connec - tion to the subject matter, I began using s tuffed animals as a source of informa- tion and inspiration in my artroom. T eacher Preparation To prepare for this unit, I compose a brief note to families explaining the still-life unit and how students may participate by bringing in a small stuffed animal from home. This note is stapled to a small paper sack. I also write the name of each child on the bag with a marker. I usually send this home about two weeks prior to needing the animals. I also give a box to each classroom teacher to collect the stuffed animals as they come to school. Teach - ers then deliver the box to the artroom t he next time the class attends art. Introduction I provide different forms of inspiration through books, online resources, and actual artifacts. Books such as Cordu - roy a nd The Velveteen Rabbit can be utilized as an introduction to the unit. Students' stuffed animals from home can serve both as inspiration and a vehi - cle for developing observational skills. D rawing We start with a series of quick sketches to support observational skills. I rein - force breaking down the animals using b oth geometric and organic shapes as I demonstrate drawing. I also add a line behind the animal to show a surface the animal is sitting on. I p rovide 12 x 18" (30 x 46 cm) pieces Lions, Tigers, and… E A R L Y C H I L D H O O D Bob Reeker TEDDY BEARS!

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