Q. How often do you work with each class? Do you check what the students are doing in other subjects and coordinate your art lessons?
A. I meet with students one time each week for 50 minutes. I keep a copy of each grade levels curriculum with my own art curriculum guide. When I plan lessons, I include this information to encourage interdisciplinary learning. I also encourage teachers to keep me informed of new activities or special projects so that I may help reinforce learning with a hands-on activity in art.
Q. What standards were addressed in the portrait class? How could you assess students progress in picking up clues through observation?
A. In the portraiture lesson, students were required to recognize and discuss emotional qualities in artwork. They were asked to look closely at two different portraits and discuss what they could learn about the artist. Details gave clues as to the time period, mood, social status, and artists style and ability. Discussion of works of art by two or more artists comparison, contrast, and critical analysis was another standard addressed.
Students were asked to create a portrait that portrayed a mood or feeling, using color to help in the expression. They were asked to include details to give the portrait a place in time. Several choices of materials were available, as another standard includes making decisions and choosing materials and techniques when creating a work of art.
To assess students progress as they worked, I would look for details facial expressions, smiles, frowns, an open mouth that would help tell the mood. Other details, such as clothing styles and logos on clothing, helped to set a time period. Adding color came later but helped to express the overall mood. As students worked, I often stopped the class. I would hold one piece up and discuss what we can see or learn so far from the work in progress.
Q. Do you have the opportunity to work with other visual art specialists? If so, how? Please describe your schools Artist Writers Workshop.
A. I am the only visual art specialist in my school. I get together monthly with seven other elementary art teachers in town to share ideas. We do this on a voluntary basis on our own time.
The Artist Writers Workshop (AWW) program in our town was started six or seven years ago and was based on a program developed by Karen Ernst, author of Picturing Learning: Artists & Writers in the Classroom. Several art teachers participate, along with several classroom teachers who attended an informational workshop. At Helen Street School, for AWW, I meet with students every other week for a double block of time (110 minutes). I rotate classes throughout the year, grades two to six.
We start with either a story or by looking at a famous work of art.
We discuss, then use this information for our creative inspiration. Students
have a choice of materials and artistic style but often have a theme to
think about. We listen to music while creating and while writing. The
writing process takes 15 to 20 minutes and may include poetry, a narrative
or a reflective piece about their artwork. The last 20 minutes are used
to share artwork and writing, with students asking for responses from
other students about their work.
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