SchoolArts Magazine

MAY 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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the morning announcements. We also implemented a Stop, Drop, and Read on Fridays. This program included teachers, students, and staff members who would stop what they were doing and grab a book to read when the loudspeaker directed them to do so. Everyone would spread out in the hallways and classrooms to read their books. Since our goal as a school was to inspire a love of reading, it was exciting for me to integrate this theme into the art curriculum. The objectives and experiences from the art curriculum also inspired ideas for our after-school art club and service learning program, Creative Minds. Creative Minds Creative Minds is a service-learning arts program created to get students working together to help our school and local community through the use of their talent in art. The Design Think - ing model serves as the foundation E ach day, students enter our classrooms with a wide range of personal experiences and chal- lenges. Regardless of how long we have been teaching, we can never truly know what our students are thinking or what takes place outside of our classrooms. What we do know is that we can create a positive and safe learning environment for our stu- dents. We can have an impact on our students' overall well-being by what we do and what we say. Words have power. Our words as educators influence students' identities as learners. What we say to students and how we say it is one of the most powerful teaching tools we possess. Words can shape how students think, act, and ultimately how they learn. Recognizing the power of words, I involved my students in a project in which they sought to make a difference in the lives of their classmates. For the Love of Reading This past year, our focus in our ele- mentary school was to inspire a love of reading in our students. We imple - mented some fun programs in our school to promote a love of reading. For Book Talk Tuesdays, students took part in video interviews about their favorite books, which were broadcast during The Power of Words Ashley M. Gonzalez Recognizing the power of words, I involved m tudents in a project in which the sought to make a difference in the lives of their classmates. for how students process and generate ideas and solve real-life challenges. To begin the program, we invited our middle-school students to collabo - rate with our sixth-graders. We talked about how students come to school with many different experiences at home, and it's difficult to know which students need a word of encouragement or perhaps a lighthearted comment to brighten their day. Students discussed at the first meeting the need for inspiring and possibly comforting their fellow stu- dents through words and art. They discussed their passion for reading this year and wanted to inspire other students through the creation of one- of-a-kind bookmarks. The plan was to place bookmarks in our school and local libraries where they might prompt an idea or bring a smile to those who came upon them. Bookmarks Can inspire This idea for the bookmarks was inspired from a book by R.J. Palacio, 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne's Precepts (Knopf, 2016). Focusing on the power of words, students used inspirational quotes to write messages on the bookmarks. They also created some of their own unique messages to inspire and make others smile. The Creative Minds members placed the bookmarks around the library, hidden on bookshelves, and peeking out of books. When a student discovers a bookmark in the library, that bookmark becomes theirs. Hopefully it will brighten their day or inspire their learning. This proj - ect will be ongoing throughout the school year and we hope to continue to inspire and comfort others through our collective, creative talents, and the power of inspirational words. Ashley M. Gonzalez is an art educator at Southern Elementary School, in Glen Rock, Pennsylvania. ashley.gonzalez@ W E B L I N K Connecting: Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and exter- nal context. Student Amelia Peck hides a bookmark. M A N A G I N G T H E A R T R O O M SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 11

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