February 2019

Empathy

Art teachers use the engaging nature and visual language of the arts to foster compassion and empathy. Students combine photography with digital storytelling to narrate their experiences living in America, create mixed-media artworks to represent a cause or issue they are passionate about, design headdresses inspired by local bird species, and more.

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Highlights From This Issue

Editor's Letter

Editor's Letter

When I was invited to present a keynote at the Washington Art Education Association (WAEA) state conference in Tacoma, Washington, I was pleased to discover that their conference theme would be Embracing Art for Social Change. Encouraging the development of empathy through arts-based social justice projects is an issue of critical importance, especially now when every day seems to bring another tragedy inspired by the lack of empathy and compassion.

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Engaging with Everyday Objects
Early Childhood

Engaging with Everyday Objects

In Quebec, we are surrounded by maple trees. Maple syrup producers process and can the sweet treat for consumers to use at home. The maple syrup can is an everyday object, much like the Campbell’s soup can in Andy Warhol’s screen prints. Warhol has inspired artists to create art about everyday objects in popular culture. Our young students used an intaglio technique with Styrofoam and washable markers to engage with an everyday object in their lives: a can of maple syrup.

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Birds of a Feather
Elementary

Birds of a Feather

Developing care for others is deeply connected to our capacity to care for nature. Ongoing interaction with nature, specifically through one’s local environment, fosters empathy and a love of nature while contributing to the healthy growth of the learner’s mind, body, and spirit. Lessons connecting to the sustainability of the natural world require educators to lead by example in their care and connection to nature while making learning engaging.

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The Art of Being a Military Child
Elementary

The Art of Being a Military Child

It is said that military children say goodbye to more significant people by the age of nineteen than the average person will in their lifetime. Their experiences are often beyond that of students their own age. The high instance of military connections presents amazing opportunities for all of us at our school. This situation inspired a city-wide art exhibition and contest throughout Virginia Beach.

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Senior Portraits
Middle School

Senior Portraits

Artists often create work in response to current experiences in their lives. Art students often do the same. Art teachers, too, may create lessons inspired by their present situations. America’s elder population is lately on my mind as I have aged, as have my parents. Even when I’m not with them, I think about the elderly, particularly those who need help, especially as I walk past a local nursing home.

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Creating for a Cause
Middle School

Creating for a Cause

This year, I challenged my middle-school students with a conceptual assignment that I hope would test their abstract thinking skills. For the project, Collage for a Cause, students were asked to think beyond themselves by representing a cause they are passionate about. I asked to visually communicate an idea while considering the color, texture, and implications of the material they chose through various collage techniques. 

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Who is an American Today? 
High School

Who is an American Today? 

Most teachers can agree that the problems students face outside their schools are not left behind as they walk through the classroom doors. While it can be challenging to address social issues, leaving things unsaid does not mean they do not exist and that they’re not impacting our students. The artroom is uniquely situated to create a safe place to address difficult subjects.

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Concrete Poetry
High School

Concrete Poetry

Concrete poetry is one of my favorite lessons to teach in my graphic communications class. It is a visual poem where typography or text is placed in a particular arrangement to create a visual image. According to Wikipedia, concrete poetry is “sometimes referred to as visual poetry, a term that has now developed a distinct meaning of its own. As such, concrete poetry relates more to visual than verbal arts.”

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Making as Being
Advocacy

Making as Being

Art as a way of knowing intensifies the experience of living and thinking. In Waldorf education, the arts as social, emotional, spiritual, and cognitive acts are a means of perceiving, processing, and presenting one’s know-how. As an art educator and, more recently, a parent of a child in Waldorf education, I have come to appreciate Waldorf education’s seamlessly arts-infused curriculum that honors children’s imagination as fundamental and vital to living and knowing.

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Daniel Minter: Know Who You Are
Looking & Learning

Daniel Minter: Know Who You Are

Daniel Minter is a painter, sculptor, illustrator, and art educator in Portland, Maine. As an African American, his art is dedicated to documenting and raising awareness of the African American experience. Like artists of the Harlem Renaissance, Minter’s work focuses on issues ranging from the African Dispora to the history of everyday Black culture, expressed through contemporary art.

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