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  • Meredith Blackerby

Staying Connected Through the Arts

If you are like me, sitting at home and sending virtual lesson plans through your computer, you might be starting to feel the strains of social distancing.

All teachers are going through this right now, but there is a special connection between an art teacher and their students that can come only from that closeup interaction of artist-to-artist that has been lost. Taking time to examine an artwork, pick it up, move it around, look at it from all angles, discuss it in real time - gone. Being able to sit side-by-side with a student and help them work through a problem - gone.

This is one of my FAVORITE parts of my job. Yes, I teach the color wheel and we learn about famous artists and study the elements of art. But being able to sit beside my students and help them work through their artistic process is INCREDIBLE. You can get to know a person so intimately through their artwork and I feel as though that opportunity has been ripped away.

I can no longer pull up a chair and help a student with a new painting technique. I can no longer stand shoulder to shoulder with one of my little artists and dive deep into the inspiration behind their artwork. I can no longer look at the excitement in my little guys' eyes when they accomplish something they have been working hard to master.

It's different, it's hard, it's heartbreaking. But it's not impossible!

So first of all, hats off to every teacher, administrator, TA, counselor, and parent who is busting their butt to make this work for their kiddos! YOU CAN DO IT!

I want to see what YOU are doing to stay connected to your students through the arts during these trying times. We are so much stronger when we share and communicate. So bring on the ideas!!! I would LOVE to share some of your awesome tips and tricks here on my blog (giving you full credit for your hard work, of course!). So send it my way if you have something you want to share!

This week I wanted to share the overview sheets that I have been giving my students to outline the lessons and activities for their weekly art assignments. This page is also attached at the beginning of a full PDF document (also shared with students) that gives them all of their links, resources, printables, etc.

I am trying to give many options for students, both physical and digital, to allow as much differentiation as possible. Some students are preferring to make things on a hard copy, some students are doing all digital, and some students are finding a happy balance of both. It is impossible for us to know what resources students have available to them so giving choices is key.

My motto so far has been as long as it gets done, I'm happy! And if you are having trouble with one of the options I have provided, how can you find a creative solution to make sure you are still covering the important topics? Can't print that worksheet out because you don't have a printer? Type it out on a google doc! Don't have markers at home to do a drawing? Find an online drawing program! Encourage them to think of NEW WAYS to create and participate at home!

I really don't care if they don't follow the lesson to a T. I just want to see that they are still taking time to be creative even within the confines of their own home!

I hope everyone is staying healthy out there and, as always, stay smART!

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