SchoolArts Magazine

JAN 2014

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 Building Identities Kelly LaFarge A t the International Newcomer Academy in Fort Worth, Texas, we're constructing more than art— we're constructing new lives. Our school services immigrant children who have little or no English proficiency. The student body represents thirty-five countries and more than twenty languages from around the world. Students receive intensive English language instruction while taking content and elective classes. I teach art using English as a Second Language (ESL) strategies of social interaction, high expectations, and academic rigor, while providing support through language mediation scaffolding. This box portrait project incorporates portrait drawing skills, color mixing, construction, and recycling materials. Learning English words related to colors, facial features, and art elements is easy for students when they are using their hands, thinking creatively, and having fun. Making Choices Students started by choosing two or three empty and carefully flattened food boxes, such as cereal or cracker boxes. I instructed students to first select at least one large box. The subsequent box set up and preparation was the most important step for a successful sculpture. The flattened boxes were overlapped with the flap openings to the sides. A few staples along the flaps held the boxes together and flat. The boxes were then painted with regular wall primer. Portrait Drawing A video and discussion on portrait drawing skills prepared students to sketch their own faces. They drew on separate papers and scribbled on the back heavily with pencil to transfer their images onto the boxes. 8 schoolartsonline.com Paint and Social Studies After the portrait drawings were transferred to the boxes, we reviewed color mixing. Since my students are from all over the world, their skin colors are many beautiful shades. A skin color paint-mixing lesson turned into a social studies lesson about how each of us has a bit of the same tones in our skin. Students recalled a previous lesson on how primary colors make secondary colors. Black and white rounded out their paint choices. Reconstruction When the painted portraits were dry, pushpins, creating a floating-on-thestudents carefully removed the staples. wall effect. Displayed together, a new They popped the boxes back into shape community emerged. Through choices and glued the flaps closed. They next of box size and painted the edges black and let the Learning English words related placement of features, each paint dry. Finally, to colors, facial features, student crestudents laid the and art elements is easy ated a unique boxes flat on the for students when they are product. Their table and glued using their hands, thinking art reflected an them together. experience of It was a bit difcreatively, and having fun. reconstructing ficult for them to a new language, identity, and commuunderstand that assembling the boxes nity in their new country. flat on the table would mean their sculpture would be flat on the wall and Kelly LaFarge is certified in K–12 art, AP would create a projecting sculpture studio art, AP art history, social studies, effect. Surprises and laughter came and ELA, as well as ESL. She teaches at from seeing how the three-dimensional the International Newcomer Academy in Fort Worth, Texas. boxes divided their portraits in humorous ways. Web Link To hang each box, I cut a square www.kellylafarge.net hole in the back and hung it over two

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