Tried & True Tips for Art Teachers is a monthly roundup of advice and wisdom
from fellow art teachers, put together by the intrepid Glenda Lubiner.
See With Your Heart
“What I wish to show when I paint is the way I see things with my eyes and in my heart.” — Raoul Dufy
Another great year is coming to an end. I’m sure we are all ready for a break, but if you’re like me, you’re already planning great things to do in your classroom next year.
At the end of the year, I try to reflect on my teaching, my learning, and my overall environment—what worked, what didn’t and what needs to be changed to make it better for my kids. Having a somewhat small classroom that I share with an amazing art teacher is great, but we definitely need to stop hoarding and get better organized.
This month, as we wind down another creative year, we will celebrate World Environment Day, Flag Day, Father’s Day and the end of school for the majority of us. Let’s have some fun, relaxation, and some time to regroup!
LEFTOVERS FOR EVERY“BOW”DY. Many of us have a soft spot for puppies and kittens, especially Lauren Greene’s art students from Coastal Middle School in Savannah, Georgia. Lauren has a folder hanging on the wall with strips of leftover paper. 2.5″ x 9″ strips were used to create bookmarks and when they were completed and laminated they sold for $1 to raise money for a charity of their choice. Her students voted for an animal shelter.
AND, SPEAKING OF DOGS … Paintbrush cleaning hack! If your students are anything like Karyne Richardson’s students from Lawrence Middle School in Lawrence, N.J., they refuse to touch the brush when cleaning it. This then results in paint being stuck on the inside part of the brush.
Karyne came across dog grooming gloves at the dollar store and a light bulb went off in her head. She just cut everything off around the brush and now the kids use the brush to get their paintbrushes clean. The dog grooming brush can be laid flat in the sink and the kids just use that to clean their brushes instead of their hands.
WORDS OF ADVICE. As Margaret Weinberg’s second- through sixth-graders entered the last month of school for the academic year, the now-retired art teacher from Charleston, S.C. would ask them to fill out a brief questionnaire: What was your favorite experience in Art this year and why? What are you looking forward to for next year in Art?
The answers to those questions were interesting and fun to report back to each class, after tallying which were the favorites. Another question was, What single piece of advice would you give to an incoming student for success in Art? She took many sentences of good advice and lettered each into individual word balloons, using a different color for each grade level. She made sure the lettering was large enough to be seen at a distance. She displayed these words of advice in the front of the Art room for the new students in the fall.
A DAY AT THE MUSEUM. At the end of the school year, I suggest to my students to try and visit at least one art museum during the summer. This year I’ll be suggesting it in my end-of-the year email to parents as well. I always ask the kids to take a picture and write down what they liked and didn’t like about the museum, and if they found a piece of art that they loved and one that they didn’t care for. It’s kind of like fun summer homework.
There are some great museums out there-—you do not have to go to Paris or Florence to find some fabulous pieces of art. Some of the best little museums are hidden in small towns. In Stockbridge, Massachusetts, you will find the Norman Rockwell Museum, and in Bentonville, Arkansas, there is the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. In the south, you will find the Boca Raton Museum of Art in Boca Raton, Florida. Many universities around the country have art museums as well.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Raoul Dufy (June 3, 1877), Gustave Courbet (June 10, 1819), Egon Schiele (June 12,1890), Jim Dine (June 16, 1935), Magdalena Abakanowicz (June 20, 1930), and Allan Houser (June 30, 1914).
Thank you Lauren, Karyne, and Margaret for these wonderful tips. I want to wish everyone a very happy summer vacation!
Arts & Activities Contributing Editor Glenda Lubiner (NBCT) teaches art at Franklin Academy Charter School in Pembroke Pines, Fla. She is also an adjunct professor at Broward College.
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