Art education, inspiration and encouragement for children and parents in Arlington, VA
The art week at Floyd, Virginia's Blue Mountain School was a great experience for me as a teacher. Students from preschool to the upper elementary grades all participated in making creative drawings that transformed into a sculpture by weeks end. We reflected on our work by giving critiques to each other based on the goals of the lesson.
For me it was a time to learn about a new school where children have small classes and go outside for fresh air to learn, run and play often. Once inside students are ready to be engaged with learning inside the classroom. Because the classrooms are small, it's easy to get to know one another.
I wanted to avoid using glue and so the solution was to use slits and tabs to hold pieces onto the base. Students have to problem solve how to build this piece of sculpture. This is after they have made the drawings and covered the paper with color to become the sculpture.
I wanted students to understand a few things that would help them look at art differently. Firstly that art in the art world is successful based on a set of agreed criteria. Secondly, when we use the criteria our art looks better. Elements and principles are tools.
We repeated and reflected each day on what our goal was so that a direction was consistent and clear. We were working with shapes and making them interesting by simply repeating, overlapping, emphasizing and filling the page.
During our critiques after each class we reinforced the goals and gave advice for how to continue.
This lesson is helpful to teach students what the elements and principles of art are, how to apply them and how to critique a work of art based on using them.
On my way home from Floyd I thought about the week and reflected on my teaching. Rules, there are rules that make good art what it is. These rules are good to know when one is stuck, or looking for a place to start. Making art like we did at Blue Mountain helped us know a few ways the rules of art can help us be better artists. Rules are meant to be broken too, but first it's good to know what the rules are; and why and how they work.
Jean Frank Stark
I make art and have taught to children for over 20 years.