Love Students Develop Social Skills With Jackson Pollock And Art

A group of Love Elementary School third-grade students splattered, sprinkled and spread paint outside their art room in honor of the famous American painter, Jackson Pollock. The students were finishing up a unique collaboration between art teacher, Anna Sandberg, and school counselor, Patty Duncanson. The project helped students learn more about social skills and appropriate behavior through art.

Love Elementary School Principal Renee Hartling asked her staff if anyone was interested in having students involved in art enrichment. Duncanson immediately thought that it would be a terrific way to reach students with a positive approach. The small groups meet four days in a row for 30 minutes. Every four days a new grade level has an opportunity to try the art experience. The class is important for students because it combines the arts with important life skills.

“I want the students to experience a different type of art-making that allows for the freedom of expression and emotions but also requires self-control,” said Sandberg. “We watched a short video about Jackson Pollock and learned that he made his pictures by using his whole body. These paintings are called action paintings where bigger actions may represent feelings of anger and smaller actions may represent feelings of content. This is another way of painting that students can use to express their feelings and also concentrate on controlling their actions.”

Having an interest in the arts, and feeling successful creating art, can be a driving factor that keeps many students coming to school everyday. JPS art teachers are integrating art with many subject areas hoping to meet the needs of all students.

“I had some experience in the past working with a music therapist and it gave me the idea of using art to develop and strengthen social skills,” said Duncanson. “PBIS has gained so much momentum in the district and I was hoping to use art enrichment as a way to support this endeavor. I am absolutely thrilled with how this project turned out. The children just love it and look forward to the meetings. I have asked Anna to continue with me next year.”