SchoolArts Magazine

MAY 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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32 MAY 2018 SchoolArts E mpathy, in its purest form, is the awareness of the feelings and emotions of others. In this era of YouTube videos and swiping left, empathy is a life skill that needs to be reintroduced in the classroom. Research states that the nature of children's experiences with art, both positive and negative, depends on the adults guiding their art development and learning. There are four research- proven strategies for teaching empa - thy: modeling, teaching point of view, using literature to teach differ - ent perspectives, and simply listening actively to others. Developing Empathy The objective of this lesson was to give students an opportunity to understand how people with dis- abilities are challenged every day. To provide real-world examples, we discussed artists who have overcome their circumstances and prevailed in the art world. We shared the artwork of artists such as Peter Longstaff, who lost both his arms and uses his feet to paint; and Lisa Fittipaldi, who is blind, yet still creates stunning pieces of art. Painting Like an Elephant As a hook to the lesson, we encouraged students to "paint like an elephant," or as we put it, make elephant paint - ings. The main idea behind elephant painting was to paint a picture with - out using your hands. Students' initial reactions were predictable: "What?" "Elephants can't paint." "That's not true!" and "You're making this up." However, once students viewed a short film of an elephant painting a self-portrait, they were in awe. Their reactions immediately changed and they focused on the detail the elephant was putting into his drawing. The short film shows the elephant paint - ing himself, taking his time, adding detail, and being meticulous about the background and strokes of the brush. After the video, we explained to students that they would be creating a painting without using their hands. E A R L Y C H I L D H O O D ELEPHANT Tracey Hunter-Doniger, Samantha Williams, and Kathryn Brundage PAINTING A first-grader "paints like an elephant."

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