Rebekah Short and the Art for Children class, Goshen College, March 2, 2000.

Sketchbooks
College students were each presented with a sketchbook from a Westview Elementary fifth grade student. College students each wrote a comment for the fifth grader whose book they were viewing. Mrs. Short showed many of her student projects and explained her methods and philosophy of teaching art.  Sketches are used to practice and to gather ideas and subject matter for art lessons. 

Visualization
When students are asked to do something new to them, she often asks them to act it out before doing it. This is another way to practice, build confidence, and identify uncertainties that need better explanations.

Beginning Class
Most of her class sessions begin with a drawing ritual. It is a time when they are quiet and can get focused on the day's tasks. When an art project requires complex supplies, her students bring materials to the work tables based on "map" sheets she places on each work table. 

Design and Crafts
Mrs. Short teaches the students to warp several tabletop looms which they then take to their classrooms. They design and weave wall hangings. When a student finishes a project, that student teaches another student how to do it. Often children who are not very advanced in other areas do very well in this area. In another design project they design cathedral rose windows. Black paper is cut with a radial design and colored tissue is arranged in the cutouts. This builds a frame of reference for the study of the history of stained class cathedral windows.

Comprehensive Curriculum
Her schools use block scheduling, allowing a good amount of time for lessons. Many of her units and projects extend several sessions in order to include practice time, idea development, compositional thumbnailing, adequate discussion time, vocabulary learning (art words are added to spelling lists), enough work time to achieve results they are pleased with, and time to make connections to everyday life and art history. 
 

Mrs. Short showed several impressive drawings that her 5th grade students had made while observing some wet clay pots freshly made by professional visiting artist Dick Lehman.

Enrichment
Mrs. Short includes visiting artists to help her students realize that art is not simply something children are asked to do in school, but many adults in our own communities are making their living as artists. In her "Artists Alive" days she invites artists who work in various media to set up and demonstrate their processes and exhibit their work in the school gym for a day. 

Before taking students on museum tours, they learn about the concept of artist's styles. By understanding that every artist has a special style, they understand that their own work is not only judged on its realism. It is important that the work evokes feeling and that it has an individual interpretation. Often this requires abstraction, expressionism, and even imaginary juxtapositions of reality.

In the spring the art classes plant flowers along the school fence row where the mowers don't cut them down. In the fall they draw and paint sunflowers and other varieties. This work lends itself to wonderful art history connections.

Click here to see a Westview fifth grade art class.  This page shows students who previously attended Honeyville when they were grades one to three. Mrs. Short teaches in both schools. In 2000 Honeyville is being replaced by a new school at the Westville campus. Mrs. Short is a graduate of Goshen College.


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 This page updated Jan. 9, 2004