SchoolArts Magazine

FEB 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 Two by Two Krystal Caldwell W hat is the best part students from the developmental about teaching art? For classrooms with my art classes. me, it is the moment when a student feels making Leaders successful and gets excited. Wouldn't When I first introduce this idea, my it be great if my students could feel students are usually apprehensive the same joys about art and teaching because most of them have never that I do? Through a mentor program worked with peers with special needs. at my school, my In a world where students have a The power of the projects we want students chance to experiand the process is evident to show accepence this pleasure. tance and comin the art created and the passion for other I teach art at friendships that are built. people, they rarely Oakridge Secondary School, a have enough school with a great developmental pro- opportunities to learn these valugram. I teach an integrated art lesson able skills outside of the classroom. at least once a semester that combines I feel this collaboration between my classrooms gives students the chance to take on leadership roles that also enhance our school community. I pair up students, based on their comfort levels and interests, with students from the developmental classroom. I give my students some background information on the person with whom they will be working, such as their likes and abilities. Building Friendships The mentor students and their partners meet and work together on a project that varies every semester from painting, to clay, to papier-mâchè. It is the mentor student's job to decide what to make with the media, based on the interests of his or her partner. The power of the projects and the process is evident in the art created and the friendships that are built. No matter how successful my students have been in learning to draw and paint, working with special-needs students is always one of their most rewarding experiences of the semester. Beforehand, I tell my students that they will take more away from this experience than from any other all year. After they have completed it, then they understand. Krystal Caldwell is an art teacher at Oakridge Secondary School, in London, Ontario. 14 February 2013 SchoolArts

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