SchoolArts Magazine

January 2016

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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I t is important that schools produce individuals who are prepared to enter an ever-changing workforce that relies on creativity, problem solving, and innovation. To support this mission, my students worked with a local nonprofit called Teach a Kid to Fish (TFK) to create illustrations for a book called Mookie's Mission: E! for Energy. The books, written by Rick Helweg, follow Mookie, his sister Syd, and their dog, Joe as they explore the many ways to live a healthy, active lifestyle. Student Artists I selected three highly motivated third graders to begin illustrating the main characters. Students received sketchbooks and spent time develop- ing ideas. The author then reviewed the characters and loved them. We discussed how an author might ask an illustrator to make changes to the original illustration. The following school year, we added seven more illustrators— a combination of fourth and fifth graders. Using the text written by the author, students worked indepen - dently or with partners to illustrate the pages. The new illustrators worked hard to fit the style concept and char - acter development, and we discussed the importance of continuity through - out the book. Revisions Over the summer and first semester of the following year, further revi- sions to the book were made and many illustrations and pages were eliminated. It was tough on a few stu- dents when they realized their hard work would go unpublished; however, each student was represented on at least one page in the final book. Some pages also needed to be combined, resulting in a need for additional illustrations, so the initial illustra- tors, along with two other illustra- tors, spent three weeks redesigning a dozen illustrations. The group did exceptional work, committing the necessary time and energy to com- plete the images. Bob Reeker Publication Nearly four and a half months later, the twenty-seven page book was published. Five hundred copies were shipped to our school, with all pro- ceeds from the sale of the books going to our playground renovation fund. TKF sponsored a book premiere party for the contributing students and teachers, including food, a slide- show, and a reading by the author. Student illustrators were treated like rock stars during the evening. Each illustrator also received a complimen- tary copy of the book. As a teacher, I really appreciate the journey my illustrators took with me. They learned the importance of working as a team, being consistent, and how book illustrators meet the requirements of the author. The time was well-spent and benefitted many. This is an experience I would highly recommend for any educator. Bob Reeker is an art teacher at Eastridge Elementary School in Lincoln, Nebraska, and the 2016 National Art Education Association Convention coordinator. breeker@lps.org W E B L I N K www.teachakidtofish.org Students learned the importance of working as a team, being consistent, and how book illustrators meet the requirements of the author. A D V O C A C Y Communit Book Collaboration 8 JANUARY 2016 SchoolArts

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