I think confidence is the number one way to produce positive outcomes because with that, the rest fall into place. When kids know that they are able to be their own person, make their own decisions, and create their own art proudly, they will carry that confidence in other areas of life. I make sure that when working with kids, I give them as much agency as possible so they become happy and comfortable making choices for themselves. In life, children often don’t believe they have any autonomy, so by giving them that power in school, they gain lifelong confidence.
I think plays and acting are the best ways to teach and learn history. By putting themselves in the roles of important people, students can learn more about them and fully understand them more. Writing their own scripts gives them experience with research and working with information. I think that now and in the future, acting will remain the best form of education regarding history.
Symbols are a way to communicate, and symbols can easily be art. Hieroglyphics are beautiful works of art that communicate words. Cave drawings are another way that prehistoric peoples communicated. I think painting is the best mode of expressing language and ideas. I think that I use crafts as a way to communicate my interest in creating, upcycling, and saving money.
I have often used art to teach scientific concepts using the MindWorks curriculum my old after-school job used to use. We made lots of murals, posters, and hands-on activities to learn concepts like germs, planets, and animals. I think art is a great way to teach science because photographs and paintings can show parts of the world students have only heard of and can help them learn.
Escher’s Pegasus (1959)
MC Escher’s work is a great way to teach tessellations as a mathematical concept for geometry, maybe with older or advanced students. They could learn that tessellations have no gaps or overlaps, and they could create their own shapes from cardstock or cardboard to create art themselves and learn geometry.
I think that there are so many great aspects of the community that could help with art instruction. There are playhouses, pottery centers, art galleries, recording studios, performing arts majors at universities, and art centers in most cities. By asking them to come in and help with learning a lesson, the students can interact with all types of people and learn about different careers. I think really any community org could be art interactive through thank-you cards or signs we could create to incorporate gratitude and art.
I ended up 3-D printing a little blue turtle. It turned into a toy for my cat as soon as I brought it home.
Photo creds: Alexis Taylor
Our group made attachable 3-D printed parts of a flower to align with Science SOL 1.4: The student will investigate and understand that plants have basic life needs and functional parts and can be classified according to certain characteristics. Key concepts include b) basic parts of plants.
I think that collaborative art is difficult for students when on a small-scale level. Murals are huge and multiple students can work at once, but small projects, like 3-D printing, are not as easy. Instead, each child being able to work on ideas that work together but aren’t one item would work best. I also thing that collaborative plays or songs would be easier to create in groups than physical objects. I think that community organizations would be great to collaborate with to help the students expand their minds and then also learn to work well with others. In elementary school, there was a traveling art program that came into schools with lessons on Ancient China and Egypt that used art to teach. I remember how fun it was to take a break from classroom instruction and be able to learn through art.