SchoolArts Magazine

February 2015

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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schoolartsonline.com 33 discuss ideas with each other. With some prompting, they started asking questions of each other and defend - ing their designs to other students. Amazingly, the efforts they were put - ting on paper were being critiqued by their peers. I explained to students that they first needed to allow themselves to take risks—risks that might involve failure. Not every idea would work, but they could gather ideas about their superheroes' powers, costume, design, and functions by talking with each other. A Valuable Teaching Lesson This project put my teaching skills to the test. I had two options: Walk away and give up on the project by doing the work for them, or seize the opportunity to reflect on the "Why?", ask "What if?" and grow stronger as a teacher. Rather than take the responsibility of meaningful learning away from students, I allowed them to struggle while I encouraged. When students had questions, I suggested where they could find the answers. I took on the role of facilitator and let them become the artists. My sat - isfaction came from sitting down in the evening with students' stories in hand, and reading about our next great superheroes. Stacy Lord is an art teacher at Worcester East Middle School in Worcester, Massa - chusetts. stacylord@hotmail.com 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 wems.worcesterschools.org

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