SchoolArts Magazine

OCT 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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38 October 2014 SchoolArts Elementary Studio Lesson from his or her visual journal, then sketched out different ideas for the symbol. Students pushed themselves to make a more sophisticated image by overlapping or juxtaposing two to three images from their sketches. Stu- dents were impressed with how much interest this added to their ideas. Creating Milagros At this point, each student took the contour-line drawing of his or her chosen symbol and traced it directly onto 5 x 5" (13 x 13 cm) sheets of aluminum tooling foil using a no. 2 pencil or wooden stylus. When placed on a soft surface—such as a piece of felt or a notebook—lines, patterns, and other details can be made into beauti- ful textures. Students used this skill to enhance areas that would benefit from having texture, such as grass or fur. Finally, students used col- ored permanent markers to put accents on their mil- agros. The final mila- gros were cut out and included as part of a multilevel ofrenda, or altar, for Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), but they could be created any time of the year. C ommunities are groups of people who live, work, and play together, sharing com- mon beliefs and traditions. Communities also help us define who we are and how we interact with oth- ers. Through this lesson, each third- grade student created a unique symbol in the style of a milagro to communi- cate a wish for his or her community. A milagro—which means "mira- cle" in Spanish—is a small folk charm that is usually made from metal. Milagros are used as votive offerings in sites throughout Mexico, Latin America, and parts of Spain. They can be offered as prayers for help with a specific need, or left as a thanks or reminder of a need that has been met. Envisioning Wishes After reading The Mystery Wind by Cheryl Ryan, students considered what problems the main character, Taba, saw, then talked about the wishes she made for her community as a result. As a class, students brainstormed a list of problems in their own community and what could be done to fix them. Individually, students brain- stormed lists of wishes for the com- munity in their visual journals. After sharing some of their initial ideas, students worked to revise their wishes to be worded in positive ways. For example, "no littering" became "a clean city," and "no guns" became "safety for my family." This helped broaden the possibilities as students developed imagery for their milagros. After discussing examples of symbols and identifying the mean- ings beyond what is seen with the naked eye, each student chose a wish Laurie Navarro and Ryan Krippendorf MILAGROS Wishes for Our Community Learning to Critique Throughout this project, students con- tinually returned to questions about why communities are important, how milagros can be important to the community, and how their ideas and artwork are similar to those of other artists who have worked with the theme of community. Because this happened early in the school year, it was also an opportunity to teach students how to share their ideas with a partner and offer ideas in small group critiques. Students were excited to participate in critiques with three to four classmates, both during the planning process and just before the milagros were complete. Based on the advice they were given in critique, students wrote in their visual journals about what their next steps would be, giving them plenty of time to improve upon their plans. Laurie Navarro and Ryan Krippendorf are art teachers at Bruce Guadalupe Com- munity School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. lnavarro @, rkrippendorf@ N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Connecting: Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context. W E B L I N K Milagros can be offered as prayers for help with a specific need, or left as a thanks or reminder of a need that has been met. Alicia, Wish for a Healthy Community.

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