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Arts & Activities - Page 10

Stepping Stones by heidi o'hanley Stepping Stones is a monthly column that breaks down seemingly daunting tasks into simple, manageable “steps” that any art educator can take and apply directly to their classroom. Stepping Stones will explore a variety of topics and share advice for art-on-a-cart teachers and those with art rooms. BALANCING CURRICULUM AND MATERIALS our curriculum changes every year and, if you’re on a cart or you travel to a number of schools, your workload constantly fluctuates. Keeping a strict curriculum is one of my challenges, but I find ways to work with it. Just because you are on a cart and lack the space does not mean you should give up on processes and material. You are there to educate and giving up would deprive your students of the knowledge they should have for the 21st century. y are the most challenging to work with on a cart and, in some cases, I hear that teachers give up on sculpture projects, saying it’s too much of a hassle. They lack the space to store the work, or even to store the materials when not in use. Communicate with your co-workers. Before I start a sculpture project, I inform the homeroom teacher and plan a space to keep the student work during the week. In most cases, I store plastic bins on top of storage closets or shelves, which keeps projects out of student reach. aDaPT WITH WHaT yOU HaVe I’ve been lucky with a kiln to share with the junior high at my home base school, but I do not have the capability to take ceramic clay from one school to the other. Instead, I order air-dry clay for projects such as coil and slab pottery. The students are still learning the process, and you don’t have to carry items in your car to the kiln. With air-dr y clay, be cautious with how the projects are put together. Make sure students use the slip/score process, or when the items dr y out, they will fall apart. (I always have a back-up plan of using a hot-glue gun to fix student projects the following week.) Another sculpture material that’s great to use is soft airdr y clay, such as AMACO’s Cloud Clay or Crayola Model Magic. The clay is softer to use, fun to play with and so many ideas can be created from the clay. Although there are many colors to order, you may not be able to squeeze it into your budget. I like to order plain white, which gives the students a chance to use markers or paint to complete their sculptures. 5 FIT THe DIMeNsIONs Three-dimensional materials One of my goals in each lesson is to have the students understand why they create their piece and how they can use their knowledge gained in the real world. Even on a cart, we still need to include those 21st-centur y learning skills. 1 6 FOCUs ON WHaT yOUr GOaLs are FOr THe year 2 THe sTaTe aND NaTIONaL sTaNDarDs are IN PLaCe FOr a reasON Make sure you touch upon the stan- dards and memorize them. When you’re approached by your administrator and asked how the lesson relates to the state and national visual arts standards, know your stuff. Materials can be modified and artists can be changed around to meet the standards, too. For example, when teaching coil potter y, I use earthen clay at my home-base school, which shares a kiln. At my second school, which does not have a kiln, I use air-dr y clay to teach the same lesson. Same concept learned—different material used. same grades at dif ferent schools, plan your lessons around the same time. This will help save you from extra planning, and you can easily just prepare more materials for the lesson rather than gather more materials for multiple lessons. 3 TIMe yOUr LessONs JUsT rIGHT If you teach the from school to school, spend a little extra time creating examples for each school that can be stored away. It may take a few years, but you carr y less and less each year. When I started traveling in my first year, I carried so much from school to school, I needed a suitcase on wheels. Now, I carr y a tote bag. Each year, I tried to order materials I knew I was going to use for the next year. Over the next few years, I carried less and less because I knew the materials were already at the other school! 10 4 PaCK LIGHTLy To save on carr ying extra materials Every school district is dif ferent. Some educators have freedom in planning their curriculum, others must follow a guideline. In my district, the three elementary ar t teachers collaborate to discuss how we each meet the standards and what concepts we wish the students to learn before reaching the junior-high level. We then communicate throughout the year on how we incorporated specific materials within our lessons. There are so many ways to adapt lessons in a traveling situation. You could plan units, themes, integrations, highlighted artists, and much more. The advice I have for new teachers is this: work with what you have. Through time, you will find an organized method to your curriculum. n Heidi O’Hanley is an art teacher for Wilkins and Lyle Elementary Schools. Visit her blog at www.talesfromthe februar y 2013 • 80 years x

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