For K-5 elementary Art teacher Elisabeth Anziano it has been a tale of successes and challenges in the Art room. There have been technology successes and challenges, masks on and hands off, students learning to wear their masks and not share their supplies. What the past year has shown is how resilient our students are. Not only has instruction changed but so has our way of looking at things. Elisabeth quotes a colleague and 3rd grade teacher as saying, "Instead of looking at how our children are falling behind, think about our third graders (and all students) who are logging into Zoom, problem solving technology glitches and learning in a foreign, new school environment."
The year began with "Art on a Cart." Art teachers started pushing into the elementary classrooms. The challenges were many: two story buildings, elevators, long hallways, changes in classroom routines, tight schedules and the biggest challenge of all being comfortable at school in a pandemic. Finally, the Art room was able to have a grand reopening. Student artists were glad to be able to be in a comfortable location to express their creativity. The furniture may have changed, long tables replaced by individual desks, but students were ready to create. One young artist expressed his excitement by saying "Hey Ms. A, I like what you've done with the place."
In June it was decided to purchase individual art materials for our budding artists. Parents donated boxes of Ziploc baggies and over 650 students had the experience of "shopping" for their Art supplies. Like professional artists, students carry their supply of crayons, glue, watercolors and more so that they are prepared whether at home or in school to create.
Technology has been a challenge for teachers and students. Ms. A was very hands-on in her teaching and her goal was to transfer the same love and feeling for art to the Smartboard. With Google Classroom and Google Slides as the platform and demo links and examples on the slides and the Avervision camera helping young artists with live step by step instruction, the Art Room had truly changed. Masks made communication more difficult and technology more important. Mask breaks have become a happy time for one and all.
"Bobby, can you please turn your camera on?" Some of the greatest artwork comes in the form of "funky bed head". Remote students are encouraged to turn on their cameras so that everyone can see each other. They are always greeted with a round of applause and a cheery welcome. Remote learners are included by uploading their artwork so it can be shared. The parents of virtual learners are truly partners in this endeavor and their parents have shown patience and persistence. Technology can be tricky but together, we are making it work. Distance students' artwork is printed and displayed for in-school students to see.
Our artists are creative, strong and continue to build new creative solutions to challenges. The positive attitude of students and their parents is contagious. Beautiful artwork graces the halls. Sometimes Ms. A's artists even teach her a thing or two!