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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M I D D L E S C H O O L C hristina Van Hamersveld and I teach at an arts and technology magnet school in a suburb of Dallas, Texas. Our middle-school program aims to attract students with excep - tional creative thinking and raw artistic ability to experience our program and to make our mission of inspiring innovation a reality. One of the reasons we love to teach at our school is because the high concentration of talent propels students to learn and grow at an accelerated rate. More importantly, students develop relationships and collaborate with one another freely— an ideal environment for many pro - fessional artists in the studio setting. We emphasize this collaboration along with the eight Studio Habits of Mind right from the start. We encour- age open dialogue and positive feed- back for students to engage, persist, and reflect on their own process. This three-part project is a journey into months of intensive risk-taking, team building, and scaffolding with excep- tional seventh-grade art students. Part One: Sculptures First, students created freestanding sculptures out of polystyrene cups. Polystyrene is great because it creates natural shadows and the form is easy to draw, it's inexpensive and light - weight, and it's a great way to upcycle discarded cups. Students worked in groups of three to four. Each student had a role within the group for each stage of the construction. Laura Lester and Christina Van Hamersveld Each group was given the follow- ing criteria: the sculpture has to be freestanding and between one to two feet tall; each student has to design at least one of the cups in the sculp - ture; and students have to use all of the pieces. Creative freedom was encouraged with alternate materials such as other pieces of recycled poly - styrene, wire, hot glue, thumbtacks, and even mini LED lights. As long as teams had a vision, they knew their "What ifs" would be met with our "Let's try it and see!" Working col - laboratively helped students create more freely, knowing if their sculpture idea "failed," they'd have a team with whom they could regroup and brain - storm alternate approaches. Part Two: Drawing After building, students observed their sculptures as abstract compositional subjects for drawing. The main goals of the drawing portion were to teach This project is a journe nto months of intensive risk- taking, team building, and scaffolding with exceptional seventh-grade art students. Dalia, a graphic approach. Ashlynn, an expressive approach. RISK-TAKING, & TEAM BUILDING SCAFFOLDING, 40 APRIL 2019 SchoolArts

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