Last week was a busy one for our art mentorship program. The principal and I have been networking with other teachers to find a NASA contact, we had the poster competition deadline, I’ve started planning a field trip to the Getty Center, and we’ve had a small lesson on watercolors. There were a couple of snags, but the program is rolling along smoothly.
The largest hiccup in the program involved the poster contest for African American Heritage Month. Only two of the students turned in their posters by the deadline. A few more students turned in posters later that week but about half hadn’t finished by our session. When we gathered, I thought it best to start with a little guidance, rather than art. We talked about not meeting the deadline for the assignment and I linked that to our future project, wondering if they were going to meet that deadline as well. They promised to make a greater effort at completing assignments and I promised to check up on them by calling them at home to talk about their projects. I had sent a reminder the Friday before the posters were due but I think I might have misjudged the intrinsic motivation of the whole class. I suppose we’re all learning each other’s needs as we go along.
I received two more art contest flyers (My Original Character and a Van Gogh haiku contest) from personal contacts over the last week. I plan on having the class engage in these projects in their spare time at home or at school. However, with these assignments, I will be much more diligent about checking in with the families. After our conversation, I think both the students and I are motivated to perform well.
Using money from my donation fund, I plan on buying a few more supplies for the group. I received the principal’s approval for a field trip with the students in the mentorship program. I let the students choose where they wanted to go from a number of museums in the city. They all chose the Getty Museum at the Getty Center. I’ve already sent my request to the Getty and have started the request for the school board. The only thing that needs to be paid for is transportation; hopefully soon we’ll be rolling into the city in a bright yellow school bus.
After our discussion, we talked about the type of medium they wanted to use for the final project. Unanimously, they selected paint on canvas. None of them have worked on canvas before and all of them seem excited to try. We ended the session with a brief lesson on watercolors and then some freestyle experimentation. With their limited prior experience, I had planned on introducing the medium slowly. I let the students draw any subject they wanted. Afterwards, I demonstrated wet and dry applications with the brush and paper. I was pretty impressed by the control most of them demonstrated. I allowed them time to experiment with the paints and color. As you can see by the paintings, the class had a wonderful time.
Look for us again in two weeks.
This also appears at lifeasgood.com.