January 2020

Empathy

Art teachers explore lessons that encourage the development of kindness and empathy. Students express the concept of home and shelter through painted umbrellas, practice mindfulness in a variety of lessons inspired by artists such as Nick Cave and Yayoi Kusama, sculpt clay luminaries for a positive cause, collaborate with a visiting artist to wheat-paste messages of love and positivity, and more.

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Highlights From This Issue

Editor's Letter
Editor's Letter

Editor's Letter

What does it mean to be empathetic? Simply put, empathy is the ability to understand and experience the feelings of others. Research has shown that empathy can be taught. According to “4 Proven Strategies for Teaching Empathy,” written by Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers (Edutopia, edut. to/30XUf9w), one of the best ways to teach empathy is for the teacher to model empathy.

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Sweet Hearts
Early Childhood

Sweet Hearts

My pre-kindergartners have had the pleasure of hosting local street artists in our art studio, and it’s been an awesome opportunity for them to connect with artists in our community. One such collaboration was with the wheat-paste artist Amber Lynn “Amberella,” who visited us and shared her methodology and messages of love, empowerment, and solidarity.

View this article in the digital edition.

Mindful Moments
Elementary

Mindful Moments

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is a skill that requires reflection and practice. It also requires the ability to imagine outside of yourself, to look beyond your experience and your perspective to consider how someone else might be feeling, and to respond to another person with respect and care.

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Habitat Umbrellas
Elementary

Habitat Umbrellas

Because of my transnational background and experiences, when I became the junior school art teacher at the International School of the Sacred Heart in Tokyo, Japan, I made it my mission to ensure that my art classes were enjoyable for all ethnicities and students with different religious and cultural backgrounds.

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The Power of Vulnerability
Middle School

The Power of Vulnerability

Middle school is an uncertain place. Our students are moving through significant physical, emotional, and social changes that leave them trying to figure out who they are and how they want to be. Empathy is vital at this age because it encourages an awareness of the feelings of others and motivates genuine connections. Empathy is at the heart of building community and safe creative spaces where our students can grow and take risks.

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Clay Cottages of Hope
Middle School

Clay Cottages of Hope

Maya Angelou once said, “Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” Teaching students that their art can shine a light for others in need can be a valuable lesson that goes beyond technique, skill, and curriculum. Teaching students to make art with visual impact can change their world, but teaching students to care can change the way they see their world.

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Advocacy to Action
High School

Advocacy to Action

As my colleagues Dana Helwick and Danielle McDonald point out in their own articles in this issue of SchoolArts, teaching about empathy starts with an awareness of what empathy is and how it involves vulnerability. I want to add to this by proposing that teaching about empathy at the high-school level must move from advocacy to action.

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Sculpting Hunger Awareness
High School

Sculpting Hunger Awareness

I always start my high-school sculpture students with wire. I like to begin with simple elements such as line and build from there. In the past, I have had students construct self-portraits and emboss wire images into paper with a small press, but this year, I wanted to challenge them with something different.

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Reaching for the Sun
Meeting Individual Needs

Reaching for the Sun

As educators, we know that many of our students have difficulty coping with stress and anxiety during their teenage years. Unfortunately, the stigmas associated with mental health can prevent them from seeking help. I explain to students, “If a classmate comes to school with a broken arm, we often treat it as a badge of honor; we are quick to find out what happened, offer to help carry books, or ask if we can sign the cast.

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Ceramic Narratives
Looking & Learning

Ceramic Narratives

Kyungmin Park is a Korean American artist who creates handbuilt figurative sculptures that she calls “narrative ceramics.” Her work juxtaposes highly realistic elements, such as human gestures and expressions, with supernatural or ephemeral abstract elements, often including fantasy scenarios or imaginary worlds. Park describes these elements as her interpretations of the unbounded imagination of children.

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