Words: Shweta Maruvada
On Friday, April 19, 2013, 28 National Art Honors Society students from Centennial High School taught various art forms at Pointers Run Elementary School (PRES) to students from grade levels 1-5. Preparations for this event have been occurring for the past 6 weeks, and the students will be teaching at the school the entire day, until 3:30. This event usually takes place every year, but was cancelled last year due to the lack of grant money.
According to art teacher Nan Collins, “Our students are basically learning how to deliver an art lesson, and have the students create something in a 45-50 minute window (class) and actually walk away with a new skill, or a new artifact, or a new understanding of some aspect of art. And our students are basically learning to teach. And they are going to learn what goes into creating a new and creative art lesson.”
There is a general protocol that PRES performs every year, according to Collins. “They suspend all other classes for the day, and they have only art classes. And so the kids go from one art class to the next all day long. Our students will be teaching the same lesson three times,” she said.
The students formed groups of 2-3 people in order to teach around 25 elementary school students. They collected enough materials for the 75 students, and created a prototype of the artifact the students will create as an example. The activity being taught by each of the groups is specific to a grade level, which each team was allowed to choose.
Participating in the event are NAHS students: Cassie Bernhardt, Blair Dettmer, Alex Booth, Kylie Caldwell, Jacqueline Chen, Christin Downie, Carolyn Gagnon, Julia Gao, Delaney Green, Giana Han, Isa Hanssen, Hanna Jackson, Aneeza Khawaja, Karina Kotyleva, Beth Lyman, Feitian Ma, Morris Mou, Eunice Nam, Daniel Park, Ye Eun Park, Courtney Payne, Manvith Sama, Roxanna Shadmehr, Alison White, Erin Yamaguchi, Mary Yu, Weong Yun, and Parastoo Zia Zarifi.
Senior Kylie Caldwell, junior Morris Mou, and Erin Yamaguchi are planning to teach fifth graders a project entitled “I Come in Many Folds”. This artwork focuses and stresses the significance of combining text and art in real life. According to Mou, “For our project, we are working with the medium that is perhaps forgotten often – paper itself. We really want to share with the kids, the fact that ordinary paper that we draw and paint on in our everyday life possess tremendous possibility of being molded, shaped, and even sculptured.”
Although this is Mou’s first time working with PRES students for NAHS, he remembered the field trip two years ago was also a success with a lot of participants from the society. “I think this field trip definitely provide an amazing opportunity for art students to experience and explore a possible career in the education fine arts. Like everyone else, I [was] really excited about Friday, considering how much I have always wanted to spread my passion for art with the community, and through National Art Honor Society, we are able to connect with the elementary school students and share our love of arts,” said Mou.
The trio decided to focus on a group of fifth graders due to the complexity of the project. The students would need to be able to handle a more creative and intellectual attitude in copying and redesigning one’s font. “So, on one side of the foldable we require the kids to write their name in aesthetically pleasing font, whether its cursive, serif or sans serif. And, since we are only requiring them to design their names on one of the four side, there also leaves a lot of artistic freedom for them to utilize their creativity to produce intricate visual composition themselves,” Mou said.
Seniors Blair Dettmer and Courtney Payne are planning on working with fourth or fifth graders, teaching them how to create “Nature Fans”. Although this is the first time Dettmer is going for NAHS, she still feels comfortable with the idea of handling the students. “Nature fans is a play on words that Mrs. Collins came up with. They’re simply paper fans with a design on each side – one with complimentary colors, and the other with analogous. This way, the kids can learn about the different types of colors, along with detailed patterns found in nature,” she said.
However Dettmer and Payne had first planned on creating Fans that resembled designs on Grecian pots than Nature, but later decided on Nature Fans due to the complexity of the latter project. “We thought that perhaps girls would want to draw flowers on theirs, but of course we couldn’t exclude the boys! Instead, we went with the more broader term of just nature,” said Dettmer.
Alison White, Ye Eun Park, and Daniel Park are going to teach fourth graders an art entitled “Impressionistic Gardens”. They are planning to taking two pictures of impressionistic gardens and giving each student a tiny section of the picture. The student will then have to recreate the their portion, which afterwards will be combined to form the complete picture again. “It was a group idea,” said White. “We started out thinking of paper flowers and combining them to make 3D gardens. But working with tissue paper seemed easy for them, so we let go that idea and started thinking about different mediums and decided on oil pastels for their waxy texture.”
White is attending this trip for the first time, and though she is not a fan of public speaking, she enjoys being around children. The group plans on demonstrating the basic idea to the fourth graders, then giving them free rein for their own projects. They also plan on educating them about a few impressionistic artists, during the class time.
This event was exciting for both the NAHS members and the PRES students, who were allowed to take a one-day leave from classes to attend the art activities in their rotation schedule. The NAHS team worked hard to make this event a success, and hoped to learn and teach new forms of art to the elementary students who had been looking forward to the day.