Our Wildwood, Winter 2017, Volume 40
The Lascaux Caves aha moment got Kendra and Melanie thinking about a collaborative project for the 3rd
In turn, Visual Arts uses Systems Thinking in the classroom. Michael explains that a systems chart can come in handy for tougher-to-grasp art techniques. To teach his students about abstract art, he asks them, “What does ‘abstract’ mean? How can you represent an idea, concept, or emotion visually?” This can all be charted, making a non-tangible concept suddenly very clear. excels at finding ways to link to other disciplines, but what about connecting to the art itself? Is there always an immediate, instinctive connection between students and the creative process? Kendra has been teaching Visual Arts in the elementary school since 2013. If there’s one thing she knows, it’s how to bring the joy of making art to every child. Her goal is to provide a curriculum that appeals to each student, from kindergarten through 5th grade. “We try hard to expose students to different types of art here,” Kendra says. “From Dada, abstract art, and performance CONNECTING TO THE MATERIAL The Visual Arts department
grade intensive involving the Tongva dwelling on Big Yard.
This collaborative work is invaluable socially and emotionally for students at the elementary school age and will serve them positively in life.
and teachers, with the freedom and flexibility to build upon students’ observations, create projects that evolve from work done in other classrooms. Visual Arts has a history of collaboration with their specialist colleagues. Two years ago, Visual and Performing Arts memorably collaborated to design the set for The Great Kapok Tree , performed by the Pods (K-1st grades) for an audience of parents. And this year, the art department’s newest faculty member, Michael Fujikawa ’95, led a 3rd grade unit on photography in conjunction with technology. Digital photography and microscopes were paired to create macro drawings of photographs students took around campus and on walking field trips.
CONNECTING THROUGH SYSTEMS When asked how he makes
connections between Visual Arts and other activities, 2nd grader James C. began by drawing a “Systems Map”—a Wildwood staple for breaking down how and why things work. James placed art at the center of his map. Radiating outward, he added explorations, quiet time, social studies, garden, reading, math, performing arts, projects, and Spanish. Systems Thinking enables students to visualize how one type of learning supports another.
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