SchoolArts Magazine

January 2018

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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conclusion. I also asked the following: • Do ideas in the text remind you of another text (book, movie, song)? • Do the ideas in the text relate to your own ideas and experiences? • How do the ideas relate to the larger world—past, present, and future? Constructing Meaning Next, students flipped through dis- carded books, pausing when they came across a few sentences or para - graphs containing good descriptive information. I encouraged them to construct meaning from the words on the page and visualize what they read by using their senses. What did they see, hear, smell, and feel? I also encouraged them to make connections with their own life experiences, other literature, or real-world events. Visual Imagery After creating a mental picture of their images, students used books and the web for reference. (For example, if a student pictured a dreary castle, they may search online for images of castles to use as a springboard for their draw - ing.) When they were ready, they began to draw directly on the book page they chose. Students planned these drawings carefully, deciding on a focal point to create unity and balance in their work. Adding Value When their drawings were finished, students each chose a medium to add value. I asked that they leave parts of the text visible and provided pencils, colored pencils, markers, watercolors, pens, and more. By allowing students to choose their medium, they were given the freedom to express their cre - ativity, and the results were incredible! Artist Statements Students examined the drawings they created and I asked them what words from the page helped them draw their images. Students each wrote an artist statement explain - ing how their visual image con- nects to the text on the page. This allowed students to understand their own art-making process and invited others to start a conver - sation about their work. Melissa Miller is an art teacher at River Dell Middle School in River Edge, New Jersey. 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 books Elizabeth Pinto-Shaw, Dream. SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 21

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