SchoolArts Magazine

MAY-JUN 2013

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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Meeting individual needS The Postage Project Anita Nawrocki H ave you looked at your mail lately? Not your e-mail— the mail that is delivered to your door. Take a really good look. There are lots of great art ideas waiting for you to discover on each envelope. Postage stamps and cancellation marks are a particularly wonderful springboard for inspiration. practical Matters Every time I pull out a bag full of postage stamps, people are very curious to know how I managed to get such a large number. It's inexpensive to buy bulk stamps at a stamp collecting store or online. The stamps are usually prepackaged in a bag by weight and are pressed flat. For each stamp project, I put handfuls of stamps out on paper plates so students can sort and select them. I also dilute white school glue in a larger container and pour it out as needed into smaller containers. Students use brushes to apply the glue. the value of Stamps In another case, I worked with stuAs society moves toward paperless dents with cognitive, fine-motor, and mail, we can expect fewer students to concentration challenges. All were be aware of the graphics that appear able to participate in an assignment on stamps. Using that involved coverpostage stamps and ing recycled glass jars Learning happens cancellation marks with stamps. spontaneously once Despite the large stamps are introduced, in an art project gives students a chance differences between as they are great for to learn about histhe two classes, the initiating all sorts of tory and explore the stamp projects were world. Every class both successful, showconversations. that has been involved ing how adaptive in a postage stamp project has been the postage stamp can be. Learning excited, curious, and challenged. As happens spontaneously once stamps an art teacher, I can hope for no better are introduced, as they are great for response. initiating all sorts of conversations. Some of my favorite comments have Anita Nawrocki is an art teacher from been, "Why is the Queen on so many Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Nawrocki. stamps?" and "Did you know that my anita@gmail.com Grandpa was in this war?" using Stamps in art I have used stamps in very different school classrooms. In one instance, I gave a grade four and five combined class the assignment of choosing a category of stamps and decoupaging them to rectangular pieces of wood shaped like a large envelope. Students then chose a second category of stamps and arranged them into a square shape to symbolize a stamp, which was glued onto their "envelopes." The next challenge was to create cancellation marks and draw them on the surface of the envelope with fine-point markers. On the reverse side of the piece, students were asked to describe why they included each of four artistic elements in their work. Matthew Crowther, grade five. 14 May/June 2013 SchoolArts

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