SchoolArts Magazine

OCT 2010

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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how it might be possible to achieve a valued goal. Journal questions such as "How has art evolved over time?" "How can people change through art experiences?" "How is art developing in my own time?" reinforced the idea of change, and of setting goals for posiPreparation Journaling Goals Beginning with short, skill-based clips tive developments. We shared studentgenerated lists of both short-term from an instructional pottery making goals like honor DVD, I continuroll and a sports ally referenced As a symbol of celebration, victory, as well the physical individual accomplishment, or as long-term transformative transformation, the bell was career goals. properties of the to be a reminder and a trophy Finally, stuclay itself, from dents decided on mud through celebrating achievement. four achievable fire, to durable goals and explored in their sketchceramic ware. Daily journal entries books ways to represent each. To referenced mythical heroes and culmeasure achievement in this project, tural icons from around the world. we collaborated on a rubric to include Students were encouraged to select sketchbook research, the making and positive role models and write about tive goals and display these goals on the surface of a bell. As a symbol of celebration, accomplishment, or transformation, the bell was to be a reminder and a trophy celebrating individual achievement. presentation of the bell, and a short artist statement. Bell Designs Bell design, usage, and lore intrigued students. We tried to discover a new bell story almost daily through the library, Internet, and extended families. We considered sleigh bells, clarions, and clock towers. Students were particularly interested in Mii-dera no Bansho, the evening bell at Mii-dera, Japan, and the nineteenth-century Toyohara woodblock print of Benkei carrying the giant bell up Hei-zan Mountain. Luckily, I had recently visited the experimental Arizona town, Arcosanti and its Soleri Bell Foundry, which provided students with a glimpse into bell casting. I required students to show their own plans in the form of four separate drawings, one for each side of the bell. We even completed cardboard maquettes rendered in color with felt-tip pens. Students looked at sample works and began to make decisions about glazing or painting bisque ware with acrylic we finished with gloss medium. Bell Construction When the task of constructing the clay bells began, we reviewed slabbuilding techniques, and agreed upon a manageable size and thickness for the bells. Students uniformly cut four slabs using cardboard templates. Each slab demonstrated student understanding of particular modeling techniques, as well as depicting their goals, dreams, and desires for a productive future. Tom Wagner is an art teacher for Fairfax County Public Schools at Holmes Middle School in Alexandria, Virginia. Tomw796@aol.com NatioNal StaNdard Students compare the characteristics of works in two or more art forms that share similar subject matter, historical periods, or cultural context. Web liNk www.arcosanti.org/project/activities/ foundry/main.html schoolartsonline.com 45

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