January 2019

Connections

Art is combined with other subject areas to create engaging and all-encompassing lessons. STEAM, arts integration, and project-based learning take the forefront as students discover the creative possibilities of combining sgraffito and clay, adapt their favorite comic book covers into original works of art, use textural adjectives to create ceramic sculptures, and more.

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Highlights From This Issue

Editor's Letter
Editor's Letter

Editor's Letter

The Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival, the country’s largest and oldest recycled art market, is held at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center every November. It is dedicated to showcasing art created from discarded materials; all the art entered must be made from a minimum of 75 percent recycled materials. The festival kicks off with a highly popular Trash Fashion and Costume Contest, but my favorite part is the artwork and displays contributed by local schools. I’m standing in front of one of these displays in the photo above. I’m always amazed by the ingenuity, originality, and effort displayed in these works.

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Gorgeous Brown
Early Childhood

Gorgeous Brown

As a studio art teacher at the Center for Early Childhood Education at Smith College, I work closely with all the teachers. We share a strong belief that playing and exploring outside is the healthiest and most effective way for children to develop physically, emotionally, socially, and intellectually. Here are some of our favorite explorations with natural materials.

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Covering Comic Book Covers
Elementary

Covering Comic Book Covers

When I was a kid, I taught myself to draw by copying favorite cartoons from television and comic books. My peers did the same. Today, my students do it, too. Between classes, they show me studies they’ve drawn of Big Nate, Captain Underpants, Iron Man, Pokémon, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, anime characters, and more. I recognize this practice as an important part of their art education.

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Tessellation Tiles
Middle School

Tessellation Tiles

Many of my seventh-grade students have never worked in clay, so where do I start with them? They were not ready for the demands of this material and needed to learn the processes and procedures of working with the medium. Getting to know the clay first and learning what it can and cannot do is important.

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Adjective Sculptures
Middle School

Adjective Sculptures

When approaching project challenges with students, I try to create learning experiences that encourage and reward risk-taking and divergent outcomes. This can be a challenge when students are using similar materials or methods. One approach that I have found successful is to introduce students to contemporary artists to see how they use similar media to get wildly different outcomes that best represent their artistic vision.

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Who Will I Be in Twenty Years?
Elementary

Who Will I Be in Twenty Years?

The transition from elementary to middle school offers a rich opportunity for students to reflect on prior experiences, how those experiences have shaped their identity, and how they can also serve as a launchpad for future plans and dreams. Students explore these themes through a Project-Based Learning (PBL) unit that focuses on a challenge: How can you create an installation for a public exhibit that will showcase your life in the year 2038, as well as how you got there?

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Building a STEAMy Stop-Motion with Design Thinking
High School

Building a STEAMy Stop-Motion with Design Thinking

Stop-motion animation is a dynamic way to go from theory to practice in STEAM education. It is studio-focused and easily connects to other disciplines, and it’s also an excellent way to introduce students to Design Thinking.

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Scratching the Surface
High School

Scratching the Surface

When planning for this year, I did some reflecting on what was introduced in the Ceramics 1. I decided to focus more on hand-building than throwing. Hand-Building gives students the opportunity to experience how clay responds to our artistic requests as well as an understanding of the creative possibilities the media holds. I also wanted to give students a chance to explore more variety in surface textures in clay.

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Color Exploration
The Open Art Room

Color Exploration

Color theory is a foundational skill for art students and teaching it is important, but it can also be fun. When painting with acrylics, the key idea for students to learn is that just about any color can be created by an artist who has white and both warm and cool primaries.

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John Brickels: Nostalgia and Narrative
Looking & Learning

John Brickels: Nostalgia and Narrative

John Brickels creates highly detailed sculptures of crumbling buildings, machine part, vintage cars and tractors, and steampunk robots from stoneware clay. That’s right—the metallic surfaces, bricks, and geometric shapes seen in his work are all constructed in clay with hand-building techniques.

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