Summer 2019

Empowerment

Students are empowered to express themselves and take ownership over their art making. An art educator teaches English vocabulary to French students in a humor-fueled portrait lesson; middle-school students interpret core ethical values through a collaborative paper sculpture; elementary students use a new medium to create watercolor resists; and more.

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Editor's Letter
Editor's Letter

Editor's Letter

What’s your art teacher superpower? Do you have eyes in the back of your head (or have you convinced your students you do)? Do you present art problems that empower your students’ confidence in their ideas and skills and in their abilities to make their own choices whenever possible? Can you immediately switch gears to take advantage of a teachable moment or an unanticipated last-minute class time to fill?

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Funny Faces: Teaching English Through Art
Early Childhood

Funny Faces: Teaching English Through Art

Every year, I try to perfect my method of easing the initial shock my students experience when introduced to a new language. Repetition of simple words and phrases, plus engaging the class in conversation (in spite of poor understanding), works very well in this situation. But what works best of all? Humor!

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Playing Around with Paper
Elementary

Playing Around with Paper

Common ideas with a fresh twist are always fun for students and teachers alike. One of our curriculum points is to create an artwork using wet-onwet painting. While this is fun and interesting to do, I wanted to make it even more so. We began this lesson by learning about creating resist paintings.

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Portraits in Micrography
Elementary

Portraits in Micrography

Micrography, or microcalligraphy, is the practice of using diminutive letters to form representational, geometric, or abstract designs, usually in black and white. The text forms an image when viewed at a distance, creating an interplay between the text and image. I use this project as my culminating lesson for my fifth-grade students and then hang the artworks during the last weeks of school.

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Have You Seen This Monster?
Middle School

Have You Seen This Monster?

Throughout time and across cultures, humans have created stories about monsters and mythical creatures to help them cope with things they fear or can’t explain. This lesson focuses on the naturally correlated connections between the visual arts and storytelling.

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The Six Pillars of Character
Middle School

The Six Pillars of Character

Our local community school has embraced the educational program of the Six Pillars of Character. These character traits represent the core ethical values of CHARACTER COUNTS!, a program intended to help instill a positive school climate and a culture of kindness. The pillars include trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.

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The Shape of Things
High School

The Shape of Things

Have you woken up in the middle of the night, fretting over what you will teach on that last day of school? I am frequently awake from 2:00 to 5:00 a.m. with my restless, anxious mind performing its mental gymnastics with no singular focus. However, on the last day of school of the most recent academic year, I was wide awake with a very specific focus: What in the world was I going to do with three classes of students on their last day of school before three days of exams followed by graduation day?

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AP-Advanced Play
High School

AP-Advanced Play

The freedom of just having fun, feeling the paint, mixing different colors, creating textures, and yes, occasionally painting each other and/or themselves generally leads students to an aha moment. The question is then, how to incorporate the act of painting into a digital artwork.

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Charles Clough: Collaborative Cluffalo
Looking & Learning

Charles Clough: Collaborative Cluffalo

Charles Clough is a contemporary painter who is fascinated with process and collaboration. He abandoned narrative painting in the 1970s in favor of an emphasis on the artistic process and began working in painterly, gestural abstraction. The vibrant colors and energetic brushwork of his paintings do not show the careful consideration that goes into the works beforehand, when he examines his intentions and procedures.

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Leaving Their Marks
Advocacy

Leaving Their Marks

The end of my art students’ four years is fast approaching and discussion turns to a reflection of their experiences in the building. I tell them, “This has been your building for several years. You have worked here, cried, sweated, and spend countless hours of your life bound by every inch of the space. If there is a way to leave your mark, signifying you were here, how would you do it, and what would it say?” This is not an easy question because students generally reflect on the objects they make and not on the school building as a canvas for art.

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