If you walked into Michela Tehan’s art class a few days ago, you would have seen an array of budding architectural artists creating perspective drawings of buildings. The seventh-grade students were able to choose any building they wanted to create, however, had specific criteria they must adhere to when completing their drawings.
“Each student performs a self-assessment, then I complete a final assessment. I feel it is important for students to self-reflect on their projects and evaluate themselves on the set criteria,” said Mrs. Tehan. “In art, there is more than one correct answer to solve the same problem for every project and process explored in class. This concept encourages students to become creative problem-solvers and, in turn, develop higher-level thinking skills. As a student develops their ability to creatively solve problems, it also improves their capacity to problem-solve and become better writers in English class, designers of science experiments, and ultimately solve problems in their own lives and in the workplace as they enter a career.”
All units are based on the NYS Visual Arts Standards with a strong focus on ELA. For every unit of study, students read articles either about artists or architecture, and/or art in other cultures throughout history so they can gain an appreciation for art past and present; all while enhancing their ability to read a text for facts and main concepts. Reading factual or technical text is a life skill that all students apply to their lives, whether it’s reading the newspaper, their favorite magazine or a college textbook. Persell Middle School is working on enrichment of student’s ELA skills schoolwide through the study and creation of art.
Other examples of art projects throughout the year include: in-depth color study, creating clay gargoyle sculpture, printmaking, aboriginal X-ray animal paintings, Native American symbol paper mache masks and Guatemalan yarn weaving.
“I love art because you can do whatever you want creatively but within the expectations of the teacher,” said seventh-grader Ally Woolslayer. “My favorite assignment so far has been the monochromatic portraits because I love mixing my own paints and colors.”