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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26 APRIL 2019 SchoolArts Caption. Below: Caption. 2 800-533-2847 | CONTINUED FROM PAGE 45. E A R L Y C H I L D H O O D G iles County, Virginia, is located in the heart of Appalachia. It boasts 92 square miles of the Jefferson National Forest, 52 miles of the Appa- lachian Trail, 37 miles of the ancient New River, and hundreds of miles of trails and backroads that lead to waterfalls, fishing streams, and end- less natural wonders. Our old-growth forests are home to white-tailed deer, bobcats, eagles, seventy bird species, and more. Unfortunately, Giles County is also one of the most impoverished areas in Appalachia. Fifty-four per- cent of our children under six live in a household that makes an income of half the Federal Poverty Level. As a result, the Giles Early Educa- tion Project (GEEP) was developed in 2012 to address local poverty through the children. During the past five years, volunteers have worked to increase the number of preschools in the public school sys- tem, bring books and art experiences to hundreds of children, advocate for teachers and guardians, and col- laborate with the public schools and their USDA-sponsored program to provide free summer lunches to chil- dren and adults in the county. Each day during the summer months, the school system sends buses out to the far reaches of the county to pick up children and bring them to one of two school cafeterias where a hot lunch is waiting. After, the children can take part in a variety of activities provided by GEEP, such as our library, block area, writing sta- tion, and beading. Most popular by far has been the art studio space. The Art Studio Together we work with fiber, wood, clay, paint, paper, adhesives, and many natural materials. During stu- dio sessions, children sit side by side, sometimes sharing chairs if we don't have enough. The close atmosphere at the studio table gives the adult vol- unteers an opening to offer resources and support. In this way, we can begin to counter poverty with aesthetics. Addressing Literacy Issues The Appalachian Alphabet project grew out of my desire to address the literacy issues I saw in many of the children. Often the younger children in our program were disinterested in books, and it was not unusual for the eight- to seventeen- year- olds to tell me they couldn't read. Some were upset by it, some were embarrassed, and others had just given up trying. The children seemed inspired to address this problem. Working as a mixed age group solidified their sense of community and com- mitment to the project. Taking inspiration from our beautiful sur- roundings, we decided to create a Lynn Hill The Appalachian Alphabet Project grew out of m esire to address the literac ssues I saw in man f the children. CONTINUED ON PAGE XX. Caption Caption CONSTRUCTING AN APPALACHIAN ALPHABET special alphabet. The goal was to form each letter using an item begin- ning with that letter. So, tomatoes were arranged into the letter T, and zucchini formed the letter Z. As they brainstormed, the kids delighted each other with silly suggestions. "I" Is for Insects Figuring out how to represent each letter raised many challenges. It opened up possibilities for new kinds of materials to explore and use to craft the letters. After decid- ing that "I" would stand for insects, my colleagues and I collected field guides and reference books so the children could see the wide variety of insects in our county. These images, paired with beautiful studio art materials, motivated the children to design, sketch, sculpt, and paint specimens. They took note of parts of the insects they had not noticed before. They were mesmer- ized by the colors, body shapes, number of wings and legs, and length of anten- nae. Suddenly, the kids were budding naturalists! After three sum- mers of concentrated effort by the children, the Appalachian Alphabet was finished. GEEP had posters of the alphabet printed, which we proudly display. Another Use for Our Alphabet Recognizing, as GEEP had, that our kids were struggling with academics, a local church set up an after- school tutoring and community cen- ter. This is a place where children can go right after school for a snack, get help with homework, and have fun. 44 APRIL 2018 SchoolArts SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 45 This was where we found another use for our alphabet. We cut out the letters of the Appalachian Alphabet, and the children used them to prac - tice letter recognition and spelling. The Appalachian Alphabet project became a way to honor our unique environment. Through it, the chil - dren of Giles County learned that the natural world around them is absolutely fascinating. Nature is mysterious, surprising, beautiful, unpredictable, and free—and it has the ability to educate and heal. Lynn Hill is an art teacher and volunteer for the Giles Early Education Project, Giles County, Virginia. N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Connecting: Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experience to make art. W E B L I N K detail.php?titleid= 2302#.W-H1Hi_ Mw_U Responses I sprayed select works with fixative and hung them in our school library for display. I was extremely pleased with how well students had done and surprised by the positive reactions from my colleagues. I would not have guessed they would respond so well to these abstract works, but they received some of the highest praise of the year! I photographed students' artwork and designed a t-shirt featuring nine of their artworks. They were blown away when I wore it to class. I told them how proud I was of their creations, and that I wanted to add them to my #ArtShirt - Friday collection of great artworks! Jordan DeWilde is an art teacher at Oregon Elementary School in Oregon, Illi- nois. jordandewilde @ N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Creating: Organize and develop new artistic ideas and work. W E B L I N K CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25. SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 27 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 Institute 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 artists, 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- room and returned to their table to watch and encourage their classmates. I circled the room, pointing out when students needed to slow down or work with both hands, or if they were getting too wild with scribbles and not focused on deliberate mark making. By the end of class, most students were catching on. I saw fewer attempts at making a subject and many successful abstract compositions. I was proud of students' work and excited to continue with the next class. The Third Class On our third day, I gave students each a 12 x 18" (30 x 46 cm) sheet of paper and asked them to once more cre- ate using the artist's style. Students experimented more with the charcoal after seeing the work of their peers. Some were interested in blending the charcoal, while others used more line variety. With a better understanding of how the artist moves and creates, students felt more comfortable trying out different movements and drawing techniques. The work improved and I noticed few students struggling. A Collaborative Drawing Game For our final day of this unit, I asked students to partner up for a Hansen- inspired drawing game. Students taped their papers down across from one another and I asked them to mimic the movements of their part- ner. When their partner made two large spirals, they were to follow their lead and create them simultaneously. The task was a little challenging at first, with students working out of synch and getting frustrated. They eventually figured out a rhythm and created beautiful works of art. From the four days studying Han- sen's art, students created their own artwork using a variety of paper sizes and art media. I asked each student to choose one of their artworks that best represented their understanding of Hansen's art. I assessed the work based on symmetry and abstraction. Almost every student was able to turn in an art- work that demonstrated these concepts. ABSTRACT Jordan DeWilde MARK MAKING gws), and later by my student teacher, Johannah Tomita ( 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 ways 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 with 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 asked 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 to make abstract marks, an image that doesn't neces- sarily 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 asked for only one student to work at each table at a time. Once one student finished his or her drawing, they placed the finished artwork on a stack in the front of the With a better understanding of how the artist moves and creates, students felt more comfortable tr ing out different movements and techniques. CONTINUED ON PAGE XX. Caption notes about any art advice I may pre- scribe to the student. Did I mention an artist they should research, or a technique they should try? With a quick look in the book, I am reminded of what I recommended and follow up to see if the student took my advice. If they have taken my advice, I follow up to learn the outcome. I write that down too. It's all in the book. A Method for Managing For those who would rather go high- tech, there are digital logging and progress-tracking apps that may be appropriate alternatives to paper and a three-ring binder. Whether you go high-tech or old-school, maintaining a Burn Book is a beneficial method for tracking and managing student prog- ress. Plus, it's totally fetch. Ian Sands is a visual arts instructor at South Brunswick High School in South- port, NC, and co-author of The Open Art Room available now from Davis Publica- tions. T H E O P E N A R T R O O M A s a TAB teacher (Teaching for Artistic Behavior), I've found it's possible to have thirty students working on thirty different assignments in each class. That's a lot of students, developing different ideas, exploring different techniques, while working in differ- ent media. I'm often asked, "How do you keep track of all those projects?" The honest answer is, I don't. The Facilitator Though I frequently present informa- tion to everyone at the start of class, the majority of my time is spent working individually with each stu- dent. While working one-on-one, my role becomes that of a facilitator. The student and I discuss his or her proj- ect ideas, I suggest artists they may want to research, and offer media and technique recommendations they may want to explore. Memory Problems Though I try my best to keep track of all that information in my head, doing so isn't really feasible. My lack of memory is a source of embarrass- ment for me. It's also a disappoint- ment to the student who expects me to remember what he or she is work- ing on. I routinely ask my students to remind me. They frequently remind me that we talked about it yesterday. "I know we talked yesterday," I say, "but can you refresh my memory?" But what if this moment of tempo- rary amnesia could be skipped? What if all the information was available to me the moment I sat down next to the student? Enter the Burn Book. The Burn Book Okay, to start with, the Burn Book is a horrible title. The origin of the name spawned from the 2004 teen comedy, Mean Girls. In this fictional film, the Burn Book was created as a way to doc- ument rumors about all the students at North Shore High School. While the purpose of the Burn Book in the movie was, well, mean, the concept, which was capturing information so it could be referenced at a later date, was rather genius. If we replace the nasty rumors with students' project information, all while maintaining a certain sense of humor, the Burn Book becomes a rather useful tool. But exactly what goes into the Burn Book? Here's a description of the Burn Book I developed this year and currently use with my students: My Burn Book At the top of each page, I write the student's name. For new classes, with students whose names I still have to learn, I print and glue down a thumb- nail photo. Although I track attendance online, I also keep track of student attendance on their individual page. This helps me have conversations about the importance of being in class, especially if the student has accumu- lated a few too many absences. Next on the page, I track the stu- dent's current project. I do this during the design and development phase of their work. I take notes about the vision they have for their art. I write down both the "what" they want to create as well as the "how" they intend to accomplish their goal. This is the crux of the book. With one glance, I can instantly be reminded of any previous conversations the student and I had. Right below that section, I add Tracking Student Progress with the Burn Book Maintaining a Burn Book is a beneficial method for tracking and managing student progress. Illustration by Isabella Charles. CONTINUED ON PAGE XX. Ian Sands 12 APRIL 2019 SchoolArts CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12. Wouldn' our students love to see their artwork on the cover of our Art Advocac onthl lanner? We would! Eac ear, Davis Publications creates a planning calendar full of artist birthda s, holida s, quotes, and articles on advocac . In 2020–2021, our cover will showcase student artwork that reflects on celebration. Submi our students' work toda ! For more information, visit our program, an our students! PROMOTE A U G U S T 2 0 1 9 – A U G U S T 2 0 2 0 Planner MONTHLY A R T E D U C AT I O N A DVO C AC Y G U I D E SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 55

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