SchoolArts Magazine

APR 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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24 APRIL 2019 SchoolArts E L E M E N T A R Y A couple of years ago, while taking my third-grade stu- dents on a field trip to the Art I nstitute of Chicago, a student asked me, "How come we don't study any artists who are still alive?" He was right. At the time, my curricu - lum for third grade lacked any living a rtists, and although I incorporated more contemporary examples in my other grade levels, I knew I needed to make some changes. Inspired by Heather Hansen I was first introduced to artist and dancer Heather Hansen by my former classmate, Kim St. Leger (@artastic- ABSTRACT Jordan DeWilde MARK MAKING gws), and later by my student teacher, Johannah Tomita (@ms.tomita.art). Both of these women are phenomenal art teachers and provide great examples of contemporary art in their class - rooms. Each had approached interpret- ing and teaching Hansen in different w ays, and I decided to put my own spin on the artist to add something new to my third-grade curriculum. The First Class We started our unit with a time-lapse video I found on YouTube of Hansen creating her large-scale abstract draw- ings. She uses a full range of motion w ith charcoal in each hand to create symmetrical marks on large paper. After watching the video, I gave stu- dents each a sheet of copy paper and a sked them to choose two of the same art materials: colored pencils, markers, crayons, etc., and mirror Hansen's style by using both hands to make simulta - neous and symmetrical marks. At first, students struggled. Many didn't understand that their marks didn't need to look like a specific subject. Some students tried to use Hansen's methods to create flowers, faces, or peace signs, rather than let- ting their movements create some- thing organic. At the end of the first day, I identified a few students who were on the right track. We discussed representational versus abstract and deliberate mark making compared to scribbling. After the first day, I was not sure how well the direction of this project was going, but students' discussions about the process had been productive, so I was encouraged to move forward. The Second Class The next day, I gave each student an 18 x 24" (46 x 61 cm) sheet of paper and two sticks of charcoal. I have six tables in my artroom and only one student worked at each table at a time. Six at a time, students finished their drawings, then placed the fin- ished artwork on a stack at the front of the room and returned to their With a better understanding of how the artist moves and creates, students felt more comfortable tr ing out different movements and techniques. Art teacher Jordan DeWilde proudly wears a t-shirt featuring nine of his students' artworks. Next page, top: Students' Hansen-inspired artworks. Bottom: Lauren Weems, grade three.

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