A learner-directed art classroom facilitates independent learning in studio centers designed to support student choices in subject matter and media.from Engaging Learners Through Artmaking, Douglas and Jaquith
The visual arts program at Woodlawn engages students in making, interpreting, and learning about art in a meaningful way. Students learn skills, concepts, and ways of interacting with art that fosters an understanding of their own lives and the lives of others.
The students experiment with a variety of media and techniques, and learn to create artworks that not only demonstrate skills, but also thought and heart. In the art studio, students learn about new materials or techniques, then make choices about what materials and techniques they want to pursue in greater depth. They learn to think and work like real artists. As artists, they identify ideas and problems of interest, select appropriate media, and explore and work through mistakes and challenges until they are ready to perfect and create. When they have completed a project, they reflect on the success of their work and determine what they want to pursue next. The goal is not to produce “frame ready” artwork, but to engage students in authentic learning and creative-problem solving. The art curriculum is designed to enrich core classes through integrated themes.
Throughout our K-12 art program, we strive to cultivate an environmentally sustainable curriculum that utilizes reclaimed and recycled materials whenever possible, and to make meaningful connections with artists and artwork that address environmental issues.
LOWER SCHOOL ART
The Lower School Art curriculum is a balance of direct instruction and independent learning. The art curriculum is also integrated with Social Studies, Language Arts, and Science throughout the school year. Confidence is continually fostered by giving students independence with choice of mediums and options in projects. Each class begins and ends on the carpet where lessons are introduced, and students reflect and share as a class. Class often begins with a demonstration of a new art technique or introduction of a new station such as drawing, weaving, printing or sculpture. Students then make a choice about which station they want to visit and what materials and techniques they want to pursue in greater depth. When the paint is cleaned up and the art is stored away, the students come back together to discuss what they discovered, to ask for advice on overcoming a challenge they faced, or to share what they created and why.
MIDDLE SCHOOL ARTThe various areas of art and design the middle school students may choose to engage in are related to what they are learning about in other subjects, or influenced by local artists and community exhibitions. While learning about art, and developing skills and techniques, the students are guided by the Studio Habits of Mind: Develop Craft, Engage and Persist, Stretch and Explore, Observe, Express, Envision, Reflect, and Understand Arts Community. The students practice the studio habits and document their creative process while working through design problems they have chosen to pursue. Through self-reflection and constructive feedback, the students determine when their work is ready to be displayed, and together they decide how and where to present their original art pieces in multiple exhibitions throughout the year.
UPPER SCHOOL ARTIn Upper School, students have an opportunity to take part in learner-directed art studios, theater design and production, and design-thinking projects, which build upon the skills and art interests they have acquired in middle school. Students select the art or design studio class as one of their elective choices. The humanities program also provides students exposure to art history through written reflection and class discussions, as well as the opportunity to apply their art skills to projects.