SchoolArts Magazine

May-June 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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A D V O C A C Y and assembled supplies and guest art- ists to carry out the activities. Making an Impression The first summer's theme was "Mak- ing an Impression" with an emphasis on printmaking and textures. Activi - ties involved working with clay and textured tiles, along with frottage, or "rubbings." Potato prints, block prints, and stencils were explored as basic printmaking tech - niques. A guest artist presented drumming and rhythms as an interdis - ciplinary connection, and we learned about drumming as a universal act, while students explored simple percus - sion derived from words. The final day ended with an art show and perfor - mance for students and parents. D uring college, I spent my summers working for the National Park Service of Michigan State Parks as an interpretive ranger or "adventure ranger" as they called it in Michigan. "Naturalist" is the title given to this type of work, but it is environmental education with hands-on and experi- ential learning at its heart. For the past three summers, I've gotten back to my naturalist roots and collaborated with our local community arts center to host a summer youth arts camp for students going into grades three through six. It is a week-long day camp with an interdisciplinary bent rooted in the visual arts. As coordinator, I came up with a theme for the camp Melissa Hronkin Balancing Act Last year's theme was "Balancing Act." Kinetic sculptures, Matisse col- lages, and tai chi were on the agenda. Clay pieces were created for Calder mobiles and stabiles, shirts were dyed with indigo to create white and blue patterns, and life-size portraits of bod- ies in motion were traced and embel- lished. The Creative Connection This summer's theme will be "The Cre- ative Connection: Arts and Science." Students will explore the relationship between the arts and science by work - ing on projects that involve clay, paint, dye, cyanotype, drawing, and writ - ing. Projects will be inspired by the work of Leonardo da Vinci, John James Audubon, and Georgia O'Keeffe, as well as by the Rube Goldberg machine. Local artists and specialists will be brought in to teach for an hour here and there and introduce students to artists in and around the community. Reflections Although summers are precious (especially in upper Michigan where we have only three months without snow), these intensive arts camp expe- riences have really challenged me to think differently as a teacher. In my full-time job, I see students for just fifty-five minutes once a week. It can take months to complete a complex project, and time is always an issue. In my school, each student gets thirty- three hours of art per year. Arts camp gives each student twenty-five hours of contact time in one week. Students get to experience almost a full year's art curriculum during summer day camp. Arts camp breaks down the boundaries between time and subject matter, indoors and outdoors, and ulti- mately, art and life! Melissa Hronkin is an art teacher in Houghton Portage Public Schools and is the 2014 NAEA Elementary Art Educator of the Year. m_ These intensive arts camp experiences have really challenged me to think differently as a teacher. Lessons from Summer Arts Camp 8

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