SchoolArts Magazine

March 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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wood, while just one student thought both works were made of wood. Stu- dents divided into two separate groups to discuss and conduct research. The fourteen students who believed the artworks were made from metal and wood presented their case using evidence seen in the images. The one student who thought both pieces were made of wood shared his ideas based on what he saw in both images. As it turned out, the student who thought both pieces were made of wood was correct. This was an opportunity to discuss how a person can stand up for his ideas, even if no one else agrees. Choosing Media As part of the media demonstration for this lesson, students used and learned about tacky glue and how a little goes a long way. The materials for this lesson are part of the mixed- media center in our artroom. The bins are placed on the floor to be more accessible to students. Starting with a square piece of cardboard for a base, students get to "go shopping" for their materials. Finished sculptures can be painted or left natural. We generally need one to two class periods to complete this lesson. That second class period is necessary if students want to paint. Documenting Student Learning As students built their structures, there was an opportunity to do some formative assessment to check for understanding. Students' descrip - tions were documented using a voice m emo app. One student, Emily, said, "I made my sculpture look like a castle. I worked very hard on it since I started it because I tried to balance all the materials." Another student, Jack, was having problems with his sculpture falling over. When asked why it was falling, he replied, "Because it is not very sup- ported." "What did you do to fix it?" Emily asked him. Jack said, "I used a stick under to hold it up." Both stu- dents were discussing the concepts of cause and effect and balance. Another student, Dylan, gave Emily some feedback: "I think it will fall off a little bit because it has a lot of weight on it." Emily had considered this during her construc - tion and used a variety of strategies t o help it all "balance." She demon- strated understanding of this con- cept through verbal description and i n her finished work. Scaffolding Skills As students cleaned up, they sorted unused materials back into the proper bins. Embedding the skill of sorting in a task with a purpose allows students to understand why that skill is relevant. When introducing STEAM con- cepts to young learners, it is neces- sary to scaffold those skills. Read and unpack science and math standards to understand exactly what students are expected to know and be able to do. It can be difficult to document student learning when the teaching is hands-on and students are so young. Use of video, photographs, and audio recording of students' responses can be helpful when reviewing and assess- ing student work. Le Ann Hinkle is an art teacher at Julian Curtiss School in Greenwich, Connecti- cut. leann_ hinkle @ 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 exter- nal context. W E B L I N K Kindergartners can come up with unique solutions to design problems, if the re given the chance to do so. Sara, age five, creates a house. SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 47

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