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Arts & Activities - Page 16

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. BEING AN ART ADVOCATE WHILE TRAVELING dents inspired by presentations attended, and adapting your lessons to your traveling or cart situation. f you’re traveling or stationary, you are one of the advocates for the arts in your school district—even if you feel tired after a day of pushing the art cart. There are many ways to promote art within your school, and I would like to offer a few ideas to help encourage creative thinking with your students, co-workers and community. Even if your load feels heavy, you can still promote your curriculum in many ways. CROSS-CURRICULAR LESSONS It’s a wonderful partnership when you combine lessons with another teacher. In doing so, you are reinforcing the objectives of the lesson, and students have fun in the process. One example I used was with 2nd grade. The school’s reading night’s theme was “oceans,” and the students were learning about ocean life prior to the special night. During the study of ocean life, I introduced different kinds of fish to the students and had them create different types of them that were made three-dimensional. When finished, the fish decorated the gym while students and parents enjoyed the ocean life decorations during reading night. Another way to integrate is to create lessons inspired by the social studies curriculum. Prehistoric, Egyptian, Greek and Renaissance history provide a rich amount of knowledge for the students in the general and creative environment. With the common core standards, districts are encouraging more cross-curricular projects and integration with the arts. My suggestion is to read through the language arts and math common core standards and pinpoint areas you know you enforce in your own curriculum. For example, if you read a book to younger grades, utilize the language arts standards by having discussions about the book. I love to use books to inspire projects, and many times the students find the book on their own to read again! I 3 PROMOTE THE ARTS WITH PARENTS AND GUARDIANS This can be tricky, especially when you’re not 1 at the same school ever y day. I like to begin the school year by creating a “wish list” of items parents and guardians can donate from home. Each homeroom teacher has their own list, but not ever y school has a supply list for art. In my wish list, I request simple things I overuse, such as paper plates, handi-wipes, and newspaper. Throughout the school year, I can receive items from parents, and it’s been a HUGE help. During open house time, I also created a flier that can be given to parents at all three school. Within the flier, I give an introduction to myself, the art curriculum, and Elliott Eisner’s “Top 10 List” of what the arts teach. Every year, more and more parents come into the art room to say hello and visit the displays, and more compliments are given from the schools I travel to. Another way to promote the arts is by inviting them to your space. If you have any after school art activities, throw a mini art show for an hour after school. It’s easy to set up, quick to take down, and parents love the visit! WAYS TO AMAZE THE COMMUNITY Are there local businesses that would love to display student work? How about the village hall? With networking, you can easily stop by a local business to create a little display of student work for the community. During the school district board meetings, ask if you can display your student’s work. The meetings are public, and attendees love to see the student work! It’s also another boost of recognition by the board members. Make room in your curriculum for local art contests. In doing so, you are sharing your student’s talents with the community! Press releases are another way to promote what you’re doing with your classroom. If your school sends out a monthly newsletter, ask if you can send in a quick two-sentence description of a project with a picture of the students at work. Everything above requires a little extra work, but it’s well worth it in the end. The more work that is displayed, the more the community recognize the hard work that you and your students do. 4 2 SHARE YOUR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WITH THE ADMINISTRATION If you’ve recently attended a state or national conference, try to squeeze in writing a report about what you visited and what you plan to include in your curriculum. In doing so, you are showing your willingness to improve your methods of teaching, as well as staying on top of recent trends in art education. As an overachiever, I knew that I would be busy once I returned from the Seattle conference last year, so I typed a report on the plane! Another way to share your recent adventures is by creating new lessons to share with the stu16 Heidi O’Hanley is a National Board Certified K–6 art educator for Indian Springs School District 109 in Justice, Ill. Visit Heidi’s blog at www.talesfromthetravellingartteacher. januar y 2013 • 80 YEARS x

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