Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Art Ed Blogger Network- Student Engagement and Participation

It's not hard to engage our youngest Artist. Our kindergarten through 3rd grade are always willing to learn and participate in the Art Studio. In fourth grade, there is a shift. Students start getting bored, they start thinking that they are or art not 'an Artist'.  In my eyes, there are a couple of reasons this happens. Students are maturing and starting to notice others and their abilities, this allows for students to compare themselves to others around them. Another reason might be because students have been drawing for years now. They are getting bored with the medium, process, tools and so on. I have a solution to both... Continue to bring the new...

This is where it is perfect to have a full program set out at your school. A scope and sequence will identify the concepts covered in each grade level, but it can also identify where students used certain mediums, processes, and tools. This way, every year you are bringing something new to your students. In the Visual Arts Studio, this should be no problem, we teach so very much!

I discovered this philosophy in engagement due to a shift in my programming. Our time with each student in the elementary setting was reduced to one day, every six digital days (we had seen them every 5). This meant that we were seeing them 34 times before and now we were down to 28 hours with each class. That doesn't sound like a huge shift but it has been enough of one that we have found it difficult to assess and reach our standards. I had to shift my mindset... Instead of a class that is teaching skill and building great Artist... I'm sharing the 'awesome' of Art to my students each year. It is more about exposure and less about skill.

I want to make sure that my students have all the 'fun' experiences that they can so I introduce something new each year. Let me give you some examples... K's through 2nd... Life is new so everything I teach them is amazing (gosh I love that about my littles). Third grade I don't have to work hard but I try to teach them painting using tempera cakes, liquid tempera, watercolors, liquid watercolor.... this is enough to keep them interested. In 4th grade, I brought in fibers to the classroom. I wrote about this in previous posts. Students LOVED it! In 5th grade, I brought in Stop Motion Animation something that most of them had not had up until now. And 6th grade I challenged the whole group with new mediums with Celluclay sculptures. You have seen me post these amazing birds every quarter, and we are starting our last sculptures currently for this quarter. 

Any time people (not just students) have the opportunity to learn something new, their brain is challenged and therefore engaged... many times this triggers the rest of them, their emotion and productivity. It also puts everyone back at ground zero and skill levels are equalized again. There is less room for comparison. I encourage you to not only bring in the new for each grade level but be enthusiastic as you do so. I find this idea of experimenting and learning something new also engages me as an instructor. Therefore, I'm excited and emotionally connected about the lesson presented. That most definitely is another reason the engagement for my student's increases, it's contagious. 

Find more on this subject here...


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