“When you think you have made a mistake, think of it as an opportunity to make something beautiful.”Many of my students struggle with the idea that they are not real artists or that art has to be perfect and realistic. Nope. Art is a process and we’re all along for the ride. My students not only learn about classic artists such as VanGogh or Davinci but also about the revolutionary Frida Kahlo, street artist Basquiat, and living working artists such as Kara Walker. There is a rule in the art studio: Only one sheet of paper. Not because there isn't enough supplies, but because in art, as in life, you make it work. You learn from a scribble or too dark of a color. The scribble becomes part of the background and the dark color a shadow. My students compare “ugly” art displayed in galleries to classical pieces. We have deep discussions on why both are art. The look of shock on their face when I express my dislike for the Mona Lisa is hilarious as I show them my love for Warhol. They learn to appreciate the process and hard work of a piece, but they don’t need to like it. We discover there is no wrong answer in art. There’s fun and self discovery, but I set high expectations for my students and we engage in art critiques, yes, even in kinder. Our crits are called, Burger Talk. Students explain their work and process. Classmates discuss what they like about the work, make a suggestion, and end with another positive. Plus, we have a giant plush cheeseburger in the classroom the students adore and a mini burger the students pass to talk. Students take crit very seriously and love to explain and defend their work. After advocating for Burger Talk on twitter and staff developments, several art teachers have adapted the process in their classrooms. A typical day in the art studio begins with a math word problem based on a piece of art. One student solves it and another explains the work. Students complete high order thinking stems and analyze artwork in their sketchbooks. We move on to a read aloud, followed by a demo, and finally independent work. At my demo table, I hold mini conferences with students about their work, but also becomes my way of getting to know students on an individual level. Projects end with an artist statement.. Teaching my students to speak up and express themselves eloquently is very important to me. There is an art world beyond the classroom and I expose my students to many art careers and working artists. Without my previous classroom experience, the art studio would not run as efficiently as it does. This flow allows my student to be independent, confident, and in charge of their learning. I want my students to feel like the art studio belongs to them.
I am constantly amazed by the work my kiddos create. How they see the world is so different from us.
Copyright © 2022 Yvonne Lopez Taylor - All Rights Reserved.