I spent a semester as a Teaching Assistant for the 2019-2020 school year at Farrington High School. I wanted to help out a friend and gain some experience teaching young people so it was a win-win arrangement. This project was on collage and each student had to do their Chinese astrological animal. It was a good example of combining different teaching goals: learning and appreciating other cultures, learning new techniques and skills, and practicing problem solving and thinking skills and process. I really enjoyed working with the kids and loved how creative some of them got with their collage. This one, I silently titled ‘Space Monkey’ because of the color and textural choices and it was wacky and way out departure from the source picture of a monkey the student had found on the internet.
We did oil pastels, wood burning, sculpture with found objects, calligraphy, sewing, and zentangles. There were also more prolonged genius projects the students worked on something they had a special interest in.
I taught watercolor for one week, and the work they produced was full of life and color and fun. Most thankfully had not had enough art classes with teachers yelling at them not to use too much water…so they didn’t have that block. Watercolor rewards those who are not afraid to let the water help you paint and be in control. So many students are afraid to fail…that is the consistent thing I found I needed to try to create practice opportunities where they would get success and a sense of accomplishment and to design success not put them in a failure demand environment.
The only group I haven’t tried at this point are middle schoolers but so far 7, 17 or 77 each student has proven to me that everyone has imagination and can be creative and enjoy the pleasure of making things.