Every Child is an Artist…

30 05 2012

Been teaching art at the school the past month, which is making me a very happy girl. This is technically more of  a secondary project but the kids and teachers have shown more interest in me coming in to the classroom to do art with the students than any other work I have done thus far. Who would’ve thought that hands-on, creative activities are more engaging and enjoyable to students than sitting at a desk and copying from the board? (sarcasm)

I started out making googly-eyed sea creatures with 2nd graders. This admittedly was more of a busy activity while their teacher was away, so it incorporated less principles/elements and was more focused on making something fun to hang up in their classroom.

I then made puffy sea creatures with the 1st graders. This was amazingly successful and was the first time many of the children had even used crayons. I had the students color the fronts and backs and use several colors/patterns. They then had to “feed” their creations with bits of rubbish paper to fatten them up. While coloring, the students sat in groups and shared crayons, working more quietly than I have ever seen them before. Proof to the teacher that if you find a lesson that interests the students and engages them (student-centered), the outcome will be far more successful and classroom management is a breeze.

The last project I did before coming in to town was a more in-depth lesson on aboriginal art with class 3. Inspired by the art I saw around Australia and was on a few of the things I brought back with me to the village. First we went to the world map and found Australia (nobody knew where it was), and I talked about how there are “man bush” in Australia as well. I showed them the photo of me with the Aboriginal musician and the didgeridoo I brought back. We talked about how they have their own style of art, just as Vanuatu has art styles (sand drawing). After, I talked about what a line was and different types of lines. We all practiced drawing lines together: thick, thin, long, wavy, zig-zag, etc. Finally I talked about stippling, and the dot-style that is prevalent in aboriginal art.

We then made a color wheel on paper and I mixed colors for them using three primary colors with powder paint available at the school.  We practiced drawing a Peace Corps dove, a pig tusk, and a simple chicken. They then chose which one they wanted in their artwork. There were some additional criteria with their art such as being required to use 3 or more kinds of lines around the image and only allowed to use 3-4 colors when painting. Everybody went outside and found sticks to paint with and we also used brushes for larger areas and unsharpened pencils for the dots.

They were really excited about this project and the entire time kids from other classes were peeking in the windows enviously. After they finished we hung up their artwork. The teacher even did every step along with them and after the lesson she said, “Jennifer, I’ve never seen something teached like that, with so many parts and you go through all the steps.” Then she said in Bislama “ol pikini bin shek from oli no bin lenem somting olsem, ” which basically means the kids were pleasantly suprised/excited to have a lesson of this sort. It was just as rewarding for me- getting back to being an art teacher and only served as a reminder that teaching art is definitely what I want to be doing.

I can’t wait to go back to the village and do more with them, possibly some with adults as well. I’m going to try and do more incorporating health or social issues as I go. If only I had more time!





2 responses

30 05 2012

You can take the art teacher out of the US, but you can’t take the art out of the teacher, clearly! So happy you had a chance to incorporate your love of art and teaching this way. (Isn’t it fun you are wishing for more time? Would you have ever guessed that would be the case!).

30 05 2012

I know, it’s crazy! I am really sad about having to leave my village. Honestly, if I could figure out an art centered or related job I would extend for another year. who would’ve thought?!

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