‘The Power of Art’ works to enlighten area children

Sam Twarek

Senior art education major Rachel Rosky explains texture by showing a ceramic object to a group of 4- and 5-year-olds. Rosky taught the group for the Fall 2007 Art Enrichment program. The children in her class made scultpures depicting special times they’

Credit: Ron Soltys

Four art education majors got their first taste of student teaching yesterday during the Fall 2007 art enrichment program “The Power of Art.”

The students each taught art-related issues to groups of 5- to 11-year-olds using various media including watercolor, tempera paint, colored pencils, drawing pencils and clay.

“The program is in cooperation with the art department and is an offering for students studying to be art teachers,” outreach program manager Judy Hirschman said. “It provides students to teach and practice, and, also, the kids have a lot of fun exploring various types of media like paint and sculpture.”

The enrichment activities change yearly, but this year’s focus, “The Power of Art,” is about the study of symbols, signs and visual images. The program is the main aspect of Teaching Practicum Lesson Plan Format taught by assistant professor Koon-Hwee Kan.

Students in the class split into four groups of three. Every Monday until Nov. 26, the students will rotate into the main role of teaching while the others help hand out materials and answer questions.

Students in each group focused on one particular theme and then individually worked on a sub-theme for their particular lesson.

Junior art education major Becky Saurer taught a group of 8- and 9-year-olds on the theme “Understanding Ourselves in the World.”

“My specific lesson is called ‘The Bond of Family,’ and the kids are going to be doing watercolor paintings of themselves with someone they consider to be a family member,” she said. “I really want to stress that they can paint a friend or someone other than a blood-relative to show that kind of bond.”

Senior art education major Rachel Rosky taught her group of 4- and 5-year-olds about the major theme “Exploring Relationships.”

Her specific lesson was called “Harvesting Nature.”

“I want to teach the kids about the relationship between humans and nature,” she said. “They will be discussing nature art works any way they want. It could be a fishing trip, a day at the beach or anything related to nature.”

Children in Rosky’s class worked with clay to explore the ideas of 3-D shapes and textures using toothpicks, plastic forks and small rolling pins.

Jessica Mickle, a fifth-year art education major, taught a group of 10- and 11-year-olds on the main theme “Expressing Your Identity.” Her individual lesson, titled “Imagination,” involved teaching the children to express their identity through all aspects of their imaginations.

One of her lessons, called “The Roles We Play,” focused on where the children fit into the world.

The children used tempera paint, brushes and construction paper to create something that represents a role they have or wish to have in society.

“I painted a picture of a firefighter because that’s what I want to be when I grow up,” said 7-year-old Sharon Clegg of Kent.

The student teachers worked with the children, first discussing their individual themes, then giving the children studio time to create their own works of art.

However, some of them ran into problems budgeting their time among different activities.

“I really think I need to work on time management and getting more used to my teaching space before the class begins,” Saurer said. “But overall it went pretty well, and the kids were pretty calm. I think they had fun.”

Other students were surprised at the children’s participation.

“I underestimated how much the kids had to say,” Mickle said. “They talked so much that I ran out of studio time in the end.”

Overall, the students agreed they had a good learning experience.

“I only forgot a few things in my lesson,” Rosky said. “Nobody cried, got hurt or got lost, so it was good for me.”

The children’s works of art will be on display in the Art Building at the end of the program in November.

Contact College of the Arts and College of Architecture and Environmental Design reporter Sam Twarek at [email protected].