College students were each presented with a sketchbook from a Westview
Elementary fifth grade student. College students each wrote a comment
the fifth grader whose book they were viewing. Mrs. Short showed many
her student projects and explained her methods and philosophy of
art. Sketches are used to practice and to gather ideas and
matter for art lessons.
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,
confidence, and identify uncertainties that need better explanations.
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
When an art project requires complex supplies, her students bring
to the work tables based on "map" sheets she places on each work
Mrs. Short teaches the students to warp several tabletop looms which
they then take to their classrooms. They design and weave wall
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
very well in this area. In another design project they design cathedral
rose windows. Black paper is cut with a radial design and colored
is arranged in the cutouts. This builds a frame of reference for the
of the history of stained class cathedral windows.
Her schools use block scheduling, allowing a good amount of time for
lessons. Many of her units and projects extend several sessions in
to include practice time, idea development, compositional thumbnailing,
adequate discussion time, vocabulary learning (art words are added to
lists), enough work time to achieve results they are pleased with, and
time to make connections to everyday life and art history.
showed several impressive drawings that her 5th grade students had made
while observing some wet clay pots freshly made by professional
Mrs. Short includes visiting artists to help her students realize that
art is not simply something children are asked to do in school, but
adults in our own communities are making their living as artists. In
"Artists Alive" days she invites artists who work in various media to
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
of artist's styles. By understanding that every artist has a special
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
interpretation. Often this requires abstraction, expressionism, and
imaginary juxtapositions of reality.
In the spring the art classes plant flowers along the school
where the mowers don't cut them down. In the fall they draw and paint
and other varieties. This work lends itself to wonderful art history
here to see a Westview fifth grade art class. This
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.