May 2019

Sustainability

Sustainability and environmental issues are highlighted through a variety of lessons that use recycled, upcycled, or renewed materials. Students compete in a fashion art competition and design clothing from sustainable materials; utilize recycled computer parts to build their very own robots; create Picasso-inspired cardboard relief sculptures; and more.

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Highlights From This Issue

Editor's Letter
Editor's Letter

Editor's Letter

In my first elementary art position, I inherited wallpaper books, glass baby food jars, stacks of newspapers, cardboard egg cartons, and not much else. Like most art teachers, I became an expert on searching out and repurposing any materials that could inventively be used by my students to make art.

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Earthworks in Miniature
Early Childhood

Earthworks in Miniature

On my first visit to Storm King Art Center in New York State, I was enchanted by Maya Lin’s Wave Field (2009), an expansive field of undulating grassy earth, imitating the waves of the sea. Visitors can experience the piece from a distance or climb to the tops of the ten- to fifteen-foot waves that stretch for eleven acres. It’s an immersive landscape that’s both calming and surprising.

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Soda Birds
Elementary

Soda Birds

If you are like me, you’re always in search of art ideas to inspire creativity within your classroom—ideas that will allow your students to experience something new, projects that can be made within a limited time frame, and all of this within a very limited budget. I teach art to approximately 450 students in grades three to five for only thirty minutes twice a week.

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Haring-Inspired Cassette Art
Elementary

Haring-Inspired Cassette Art

Any time I think of a new lesson idea, I try to add a twist—a surprise element of some sort to get my artists’ attention. For that purpose, I knew I wanted to introduce my fifth-graders to Keith Haring. Haring has always been a hit with young artists. Students instantly embrace the barking dog, flying superhero, dancing figures, and classic three-eyed face.

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Dismantled Robots
Middle School

Dismantled Robots

As art teachers, sometimes it doesn't take much to inspire us. In my case, it took our school’s tech team leaving behind my classroom’s dismantled wireless router in a trash bin. After digging it out, I marveled at the interesting and colorful components, and I knew my students would love to get their creative hands and imaginative minds on these wires and switches.

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Cardboard Guitars
Middle School

Cardboard Guitars

One of my favorite middle-school lessons involves having students construct cardboard relief sculptures based on the cubist guitars of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. My students love building with their hands. Many who lack confidence in their 2D abilities feel like rock stars as they discover a new skill set in 3D.

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Flash Fashion
High School

Flash Fashion

I have always loved the concept of artistic competitions such as “Project Runway,” “Chopped,” or “Made.” The idea that you can just hand a topic over to a group of students, ask them to work at top speed, develop, revise, and collaborate in a highly creative environment with no artistic boundaries is exciting. As a twenty-year veteran art teacher, I also need those days when students surprise me with their quickness and willingness to improvise.

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Love & Consumption
High School

Love & Consumption

I woke up one morning thinking about students, lesson plans, and getting through the day gracefully. I thought about how much I love coffee and suddenly (just like every other morning), I was consumed with getting up and getting some coffee in me. I also thought about how much coffee I consume. It was in that sleepy moment that I thought of the idea for one of my favorite lessons, Love & Consumption.

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Veronica Fish: Contemporary Classics
Looking & Learning

Veronica Fish: Contemporary Classics

Veronica Fish is a talented comic book artist whose elegant, sophisticated figures update classic comic book illustrative styles with a more contemporary point of view. From many years, comic books were viewed by many as a low form of art plagued by gender stereotypes and produced for mostly a young male audience. Today, women play a major role in the industry and many titles produced each month reflect a wide variety of interests, perspectives, and points of view.

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Through Their Eyes
Meeting Individual Needs

Through Their Eyes

In 2017, the Cullis Wade Depot Art Gallery in Mississippi State University showcased photography by local children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in a group art exhibition, Through Their Eyes. Compact digital cameras were distributed to nine families who agreed to participate so children cold capture informal scenes from everyday life over a period of several months.

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