SchoolArts Magazine

February 2017

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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22 FEBRUARY 2017 SchoolArts encouraged my students to incorpo- rate their own interests, to tell their own stories, to communicate their own opinions, and to find their own meaning in what we were studying. When I selected the master artists that I would teach each month, I made sure that each one of them had a unique voice that could be celebrated. A Focus on Steinberg Saul Steinberg was one artist we studied. For those unfamiliar with the cartoonist, all you need to know for now is that he created more than 1,200 works of art for The New Yorker, a magazine well-known for inviting artists to create covers that address current social, cultural, and political issues. After sharing the life and work of Steinberg, along with a selection of covers that other illustrators have created for the magazine, I invited my fifth-grade students to create their own New Yorker covers. The artwork they created is beau- tiful and I would be happy to share it without explanation. As a teacher though, what excited me most about this assignment was how it helped my students set their own goals and take responsibility for their own learning. Setting Objectives At the start of the lesson, I gave each student a blank New Yorker cover and a handout. The handout asked stu- dents to write their own objectives for the lesson, such as what materials they would use and what their New Yorker cover would express or say. Examples of students' objectives included "Using oil pastels, I will create a New Yorker cover that shows people how I am different from my sister" and "Using watercolors, I will create a New Yorker cover that will make people laugh." Students couldn't begin their covers until their objectives were approved. Documenting Obstacles The second part of the handout asked students to document their challenges, strategies, and discoveries. Before allowing students to turn to me for help, I asked them to write down: (1) what their problems were; (2) how they had attempted to solve their problem on their own; and (3) what they may have learned from that attempt. Left: Moshe Nikrooz. Right: Ariella Gershov.

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