SchoolArts Magazine

FEB 2019

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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Page 50 of 54

painting, printmaking, carving, and assemblage, all brought together using the same symbolic language across the different materials. The piece is designed to allow you to take one area of the piece, engage in that, and then from understanding that piece, some - how understand other pieces. You are able to find different understanding in different areas of the piece and move back and have a larger understanding. So, it's not meant to give you any single impression at once. There are so many pieces and elements involved in it—it gives you the freedom to take in the piece slowly. Since A Distant Holla has 22 FEBRUARY 2019 SchoolArts P O I N T O F V I E W E mpathy is the ability to show compassion and understanding for another person's experience. In our artrooms, there are many unplanned moments of empathy that emerge during the in-between spaces of a planned lesson. But how can we create intentional opportunities to promote students' compassion for oth- ers? While teaching a course on arts integration for elementary education majors, I found that narrative strategies lend themselves to empathic growth. In one bookmaking assignment, stu- dents merge personal art-making with oral storytelling, and a series of activi- ties move students toward empathetic understanding. One student wrote, "The bookmaking project was an excellent way for us to feel vulnerable and feel each other's' feelings and inter- ests." Honoring student stories in the artroom can shape and impact students and teachers in transformative ways. Understanding the Self through Bookmaking The first step in growing empa- thetically is feeling empathy and understanding for yourself. In this assignment, students are first required to unpack a personal narrative through the process of artmaking, specifically bookmaking. The process of working to visually portray their story provides them with the opportunity to reflect deeply on understanding themselves and how their stories are important in their personal narrative. Students are introduced to the evo- lution of books through history as well as contemporary bookmakers such as Julie Chen, Miriam Schaer, Barbara Tetenbaum, Alison Cook Brown, Clar- issa Sligh, and Emily Martin. A variety of bookmaking structures and formats are discussed and demonstrated such as accordion, crisscross, sewn bind, ments on the tables. I discuss the importance of creat- ing a safe place in one's classroom to feel comfortable to share both our narratives and our artwork. This Book Club Day occurs early in the semester, which allows us to get to know each other and helps us grow as a commu- nity of learners. One student wrote, "Sometimes we get caught up in our- selves, so we don't look around to oth- ers. This project allowed us to learn about everyone. It built community." Silent Reading I call the first activity we do on Book Club Day "silent reading." Students do An Exercise in Empat Nicole Romanski tunnel, star, and dragon. Students are given choice in regard to materials, subject matter, and book structure. We also brainstorm possibilities for personal narratives including childhood memories, travel stories, pivotal events, relationship stories, and professional journeys. Students often share that the book- making process helped them revisit and spend time considering the impact of the experience on their lives. One student reflected, "I think I learned about vulnerability and the power in sharing your story. I was never some- one who felt like my story had mean- ing, but this project proved me wrong." Understanding Others through Our Book Club Day Our Book Club Day is an essential component of the personal bookmak- ing experience. The core of empathy is understanding others, so on this day, we devote time to engage in vari- ous strategies to receive, share, and experience each other's stories. We set up our classroom like a gallery by placing our books and artist state- Taking time to unpack personal narratives through bookmaking and stor telling in the artroom provides an opening for our students to grow empatheticall . CONTINUED ON PAGE 46. Caption CONTINUED FROM PAGE 22. a gallery walk around the classroom and find a book that they want to investigate. Each student sits with the book he or she has selected and begins to "visually" silently read the book and write about it using a guided work - sheet. Students consider both the story as well as how the story is told visually. After students spend time with one book, we do a second strategy called "sentence feedback strips," where everyone moves around the class - room to view all the books. They are prompted with sentence starters, and they leave a one-sentence feedback strip by each book. The feedback sentence might relate to their personal connec - tions to the book, art-making decisions, or the impact of visual structures. Sharing Another's Story The final activity on Book Club Day is Sharing Another's Book. Here, the stu - dent who spent time writing about the book in the first activity orally shares another student's book and experience with the class. When another person shares one's story, it validates the per - sonal narrative to the class commu- nity. The individual who created the book also adds to their personal narra - tive after his or her story is told. One student wrote, "I feel that I was able to connect to my classmates and walk in their shoes a bit. I was able to feel their pain, happiness, and love that was shared in their books." Tak - ing time to unpack personal narratives through bookmaking and oral storytell - ing in the artroom provides an opening for students to grow empathetically toward themselves and each other. Nicole Romanksi is assistant professor of art education at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. L O O K I N G & L E A R N I N G CONTINUED FROM PAGE 26. so many elements, you can find a small spot there that connects to you. Take it in wherever you connect with it, and feel your way to some understanding of other areas you might not have felt you had a connection with. SA: What advice do have for young people of color who are interested in pursuing a career in visual art? DM: They have to know who they are. If you don't know who you are, it's really difficult to be an artist, because other people's visions will take over your art and you'll lose yourself. So firstly, know who you are, know what you want to do with your artwork, and at the same time, always and forever work on your craft and skill— whatever that skill is—whether it be drawing, painting, dancing, or singing. I would also say to work across disci - plines. Work with people who dance, sing, write. Work with scientists and historians. That is your work—the work of artists is to give visualization to the ideas that are discovered in sci - ence and history. 46 FEBRUARY 2019 SchoolArts Join SchoolArts editor Nanc alkup and CRIZMAC president Stevie Mack for this opportunit o explore the diversit f New Mexico's artistic heritage, from ancient times to the present. Activities include visits to renowned museums in Santa Fe and Taos, tours of historical sites, visits to the Taos Pueblo, Georgia O'Keeffe's home, Pojoaque Cultural Center, and more. Firsthand experiences with Native American artists and contemporar Santa Fe artisans make this an educational and remarkable trip. Visit Northern New Mexico, July 14–21, 2019 TRES CULTURAS Exploring the Artistic Spirit of Santa Fe & Taos

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