Sounds of joy rang out as students heard their classroom teacher chime "It's time to go to art class." As they buzzed about preparing to walk with anticipation to the art room, they could hardly contain their excitement and they wondered what their art teacher would have in store for them when they arrived for their 60-minute weekly art lesson.
I am proud to have been the art teacher to those 628 students each week for 8 years. In addition to the art-education degree tucked under my belt, I had a real passion for nurturing creativity, inspiring young people, and providing rich and meaningful art experiences these young artists would always remember.
In addition to the weekly scheduled 60 minutes of art that was facilitated by me, students wanted more. I wanted more. Motivated by this, I developed a list of ways to add art to the curriculum and lives of students. Just as we encounter art everywhere throughout our daily routines, so can students discover and experience a constant stream of art education.
Here is part of the list:
Use the library. Be sure to work with the librarian to have art software and art research tools on hand. Often, it is as easy as asking. Ask the librarian to order art books. There is money to be spent, so increase the size of the art section in the school library. Most librarians welcome requests of quality art books that students will use, and it leads to more art education! Ask the librarian to subscribe to art resources, such as Arts & Activities, and to purchase art prints that can be used by teachers.
Art software in all classrooms. Draw, paint and design with art programs (i.e. Kid Pix').
Museum visits from the classroom. Can't fit in a field trip to D.C. to view the collection at the National Gallery of Art, or the Women's Museum? Insert a disk and you're there! Need to show a print of Monet's Water Lilies but don't have one? Easy--use the Internet. Art software can be made available to students in the art room, the library and in all classrooms. Increase students' chances of having opportunities to use art software. Increase their chances of having more time for art education.
Use the computer lab during and after school. Art club or other after-school programs can take advantage of technology to add to art education experiences. Full class instruction during school hours is a perfect way to introduce students to art sites. The teacher can easily post a list of favorite art addresses by each computer. Manipulate original student artwork with computer software and print on t-shirts (transfer material is available in numerous stores).
Art club. For visual learners, and the artistically gifted and talented who just can't get enough art, give them more. Provide a way for students who want to be serious about making art to do so. For these highly motivated young artists, materials and a bit of guidance are easy to provide.
School-wide art fair. Come one, come all, see what your children have created! A perfect opportunity to teach and practice appropriate museum behavior. The students are the docents who escort parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles through the fabulous artwork that fills the lunchroom, library, or gym for the evening. Allow each student to enter one two-dimensional and one three-dimensional piece. Provide a recipe for salt dough (visit www.saltinstitute.org/dough.html). Look at Kentucky's unique ArtFest--a state-wide science-fair-style art festival for middle-school students (www.kyarteducators.atfreeweb.com).
Evening with the Arts. School or county-wide, collaborate with other friends in the arts, celebrate and inspire with visual art, music, dance and drama. (See Pendleton County's, example: www.kyarteducators.artfree web.com.)
Art exhibitions in room and throughout school. Host special art exhibits throughout the school. Boost students' self-esteem by rotating …