SchoolArts Magazine

March 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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M E E T I N G I N D I V I D U A L N E E D S A Gift of Art 18 March 2015 SchoolArts partners in writing a short reflection paragraph that described the colors and shapes chosen, thoughts about the process, and/or feelings about the overall experience. My students later typed their paragraphs and proudly attached them to their art when we displayed the creations in our hallway. Connecting across Abilities When the time came to say goodbye, it was apparent that everyone had gained a new sense of appreciation for the way art has the power to con- nect across abilities. When you let go of preconceived beliefs and share art with students of various intellectual abilities, the possibilities will amaze you. Most likely you will see how the connections made while sharing art experiences can be life-changing. Ranella Franklin is a special education teacher for the functional academics life skills class at Everman Joe C. Bean High School, in Everman, Texas. rfranklin@ their instructors shared information through PowerPoint presentations, charts and posters, SMART Board presentations, and related storybooks. Shapes, lines, colors, and textures were explored, as well as brief histo - ries of the topics or materials. The TCU students provided samples of all of the materials used, as well as fin- ished examples of each project. Simpli- fied, step-by-step demonstrations were given and reviewed before the actual project was started. Working in Partnership Each TCU instructor paired off with one of my students and guided them through the process of creating. The pairs also spent time discussing each project, as well as sharing personal interests and real-life topics. At the conclusion of most proj- ects, the TCU students assisted their W ith open hearts and open minds, art can provide new and amaz- ing possibilities, as well as new connections. I experienced this firsthand through a collaboration with Amanda Allison of Texas Christian University (TCU) and students from her therapeutic arts and art education classes. This year, my class traveled to TCU and spent a morning working in a real college art classroom alongside Amanda's students. Step-by-Step Art Over the course of this collabora- tion, the TCU students prepared and taught informative, engaging les - sons ranging from Day of the Dead plaster masks to watercolor to clay to autumn leaf collages and print - making. My students were eager to participate in the various lessons as Art has the power to connect across abilities. Ranella Franklin Lesson Modifications These simple modifications contributed to the success of the various lessons for special-needs students: • Prompting with questions for students who experienced difficulty getting started or completing activities independently. • The use of gloves for students with tactile defensiveness while working with plaster or clay. • The option to draw or collage for students who preferred no contact with plaster and/or clay. • The use of mirrors for students to observe their own facial features and expressions. • The opportunity to dictate when describing observations, thoughts, and feelings for students with limited writing skills. • The use of a pointing board with pictures of patterns and shapes for students who could neither write nor speak.

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