Tag Archives: accomplishment

Make Your Student Feel Like an Artist

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ImageWhat makes a student feel like he or she is an artist? Often teachers assign an art project, it gets completed and it is sent home.  However, with one more step, students feel their work is valued and shared with the school and community.

ImageJudy Johnson and Jana Miller at Arendell Parrott Academy in Kinston, North Carolina have learned the value of a student art show.  Judy states “I have been doing this for 24 years and the excitement never pales.”  Each year they host a show that shows off their students’ work.

ImageJudy explains how the art is selected.  “Each year I save all the work that has gone up in the halls and the students bring in their pile (after a very confusing delivery system) to class and they SHOULD have their two strongest pieces on top.  I work with each one to determine if their decision is a sound one.  Sometimes we negotiate  and sometimes the class may get involved with a critique…even 1st grade.”  The art is then judged by an independent artist from the community.    The students feel like they have their own gallery and that their work is valued.  From the number of walls covered with art in the pictures, you can see Arendell Parrott Academy has a vibrant program.

In having judged thousands of students’ work I can testify that they are one of the top programs in the country that participate in our contest.  Their student work is a joy to judge.

Tom Worthen. Ph.D.
Editor

Make Being Published an Event!

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As the art judging is finished I always feel a bit guilty when I come across a school with an extremely high acceptance rate.  But sometimes a teacher is just great and his or her students create wonderful work.

There are a few schools that I look forward to judging. Palmer Catholic Academy in Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida is one of those schools who I find it a joy to see the students’ art.  Katie Corrigan has created a program there where her students create wonderful images.  Her elementary school watercolors are above grade level and just plain fun.

She sent an email this week with the following pictures and message:

ImageI can’t tell you how happy I am to see how many of our students “made the cut”! I’ve opted to wait for the postcards before sharing the news so they have something in hand to take home but it is a hard secret to keep. I couldn’t remember if I sent the attached photos to you upon receipt of last year’s good news and book arrival so I am attaching them now. I thought you might like to see some of the proud second grade artists with the book opened to their paintings. As the cards arrived shortly before the last day of school I had given letters to the students and used the cards to decorate our lobby bulletin board. The students took them home on the last day but had a chance to shine being recognized there first.Image
 
Thank you again for your wonderful book! We are thrilled to be a part of it.
 
With gratitude,
Katie Corrigan
Art Teacher
Palmer Catholic Academy

Thank you Katie.  In judging high schools that do work at a level much lower than your 4th graders, you are making a difference and changing lives.  We are glad to be here as a way to give your art an audience.  Hopefully being published provides an extra spark as we work together to create live long artists.
 
 Tom Worthen, Ph.D.

Featured Student Artist: Shannon M.

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ImageToday’s featured student artist is Shannon M.  Shannon is a 9th grader at Hempstead High School in Iowa.  Shannon’s art piece, “Watching My Face,” was selected as a Top Ten Winner in our Fall 2011 national art contest.  Shannon’s art was selected as a winner out of thousands of pieces in her age division (7th – 9th grade).           

“Self portraits are hard.” Shannon explains, “I believe the most challenging face to draw is your own. Maybe it’s because there are so many details only you yourself notice, and you keep messing up on the tiny things. Maybe it’s just because you’ve seen your own face so many times in the mirror that, when you actually study it, you can’t take it apart to draw. Either or, it’s a hefty job.”

As her art was selected as a Top Ten Winner, we asked Shannon what inspired her winning piece.

“I chose to draw myself for the challenge, really (It was definitely a challenge.) The last time I drew myself, I knew it didn’t look like me. I decided to start to actually think, not just do, drawing. I did studies of my face, separate parts- my eyes, my nose, and my lips. I even did some studies on my hand so I could have something other than a face to practice on.

Over time I learned about form, depth, shading, and texture — all those terms from art class. I realized I often didn’t shade that dark, and when that happens, you don’t get as much depth in some areas of your drawing as what could be. I also realized I was drawing shoulders way too small- when I drew myself I looked more like a caricature than a real person- so I also learned a bit on proportions, too. Not to mention the ‘Rule of Thirds,’ which pretty much means, ‘Don’t just stick something in the center — Put it off to the left, right, higher, or lower so the art isn’t boring.’Image

I then started my actual drawing. It was hard at first of course, due to the fact I was supposed to put my face on a blank piece of paper. But, I carried on, knowing sooner or later it would actually resemble me. And it did! All that practicing helped me — I wouldn’t be as developed as I am now.

Basically, this drawing was more like a learning experience instead of just a drawing. I don’t often make art like this, pretty much because of time issues, but when I put aside some time I know I can actually do something that I can be at least pleased with. I hope soon I can start on another project — I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Congratulations, Shannon, on being selected as Top Ten Winner in our national art contest!  This is a great achievement and we hope to see much more of your talented work in the future.

To view other Top Ten Winners like Shannon, visit here.  If you would like more information about our national art contests, please go to www.CelebratingArt.com.

Take the Time to Finish…It Feels Good

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Ten years ago, after I had been divorced for several years, I published a book called Broken Hearts….Healing: Young Poets Speak Out on Divorce.  It was a compilation of kids from across the US who wrote on their feelings and the stages they went through from a divorce.  It was written by the real experts, the kids, and received a couple of national awards.

Yesterday we published the ebook version at smashwords.com.  In doing this I reflected back to what made me create and publish a book.  After my divorce, my kids would come home and tell me that they were the only kids in their school that come from a divorce family.  In reality, about half of their classmates were in this group.   The book was created to help them realize that they were not alone.

However, publishing the book was more than the content of what was created. It was a project completed.  How many of us have large goals that stay as good intentions.  Something we think about and don’t follow through to completion.  When I received my Ph.D., one of my professors stated that there are thousands of students every year that start a graduate program, often they finish the classwork, but end up ABD (All But Dissertation) and never receive their Ph.D.  Aside from the big things in life like creating a book or getting a degree, how many small things do we need to cross off our list?  Small things that we could accomplish, yet don’t, due to our just not doing them.

I look back at things I have done for my students in the classroom, for the students we work with in the contests, my family and personal areas of my life.  When I take a task and finish it, looking back makes me proud of myself.  I feel more confident.  It feels good.

For the students we work with in the contests, we have hundreds of letters stating that becoming a published writer or artist became an event in their lives that is an accomplishment.  Taking the time to create and finish a task, at any level, is something we can all do.  Look around at the various parts of your life.  What can you finish?  What can you help your students finish?  For me, 10 years ago it was a book that is now used by school counselors across the US.  Something I did hopefully made a difference in some child or parent’s life.  However, I do know that completing a goal had made a difference in my life.

Don’t Limit Yourself — You’ve Got What You Need!

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Last night my daughter, who is in a wheelchair, tried out for the musical Narnia.  We have always taught her that the greatest limitation we have are those that we put upon ourselves.  Will she ever be a dancer?  No. Then again as a 52 year old, non dancer type, I may never be a dancer either. There are many things she will never be able to do.  So she focuses on the things she can do.  These are the things that are the successes in life for her.  She may not get a part, but there is a 100% chance she would NOT get a part if she didn’t audition.  Her list of awards in art, writing, science and history at the school, regional and state level are impressive for a 6th grader. She has not let her handicap hold her back.

I tell her that each of us has our own handicap as none of us can excel at everything.  Some kids may not be as smart as her or as funny.  My mother always felt handicapped when she would have to call me, with my long arms and height, to reach in the back of a shelf to grab a can of food.   But overall, we all start life with similar capabilities.  I have always loved the poem “Equipment” by Edgar A. Guest

Figure it out for yourself, my lad.
You’ve all that the greatest men have had;

Two arms, two hands, two legs, two eyes.
And a brain to use, if you be wise.
With this equipment they all began.
So start from the top, and say, “I can”.

Look them over, the wise and the great.
They take their food from a common plate.
And similar knives and forks they use.
With similar laces they tie their shoes.

The world considers them brave and smart.
But you’ve all they had when they made their start.
You can triumph and come to skill.

You can be great if you only will.

You’re well equipped for what fight you choose;
You have arms and legs and a brain to use.
And the man who has risen great deeds to do.
Began his life with no more than you.

You are the handicap you must face.
You are the one who must choose your place.

You must say where you want to go.
How much you will study the truth to know.

God has equipped you for life.
But he lets you decide what you want to be.
Courage must come from the soul within.
The man must furnish the will to win.

So figure it out yourself, my lad.

You were born with all the great have had.
With your equipment they all began.
Get hold of yourself and say “I CAN”!

As humans, we all have the same gifts or equipment.  However, beyond basic equipment, we have to take advantage of the opportunities that are given us.

We can’t sit around and think about things, we must Do.  We must say “I Can.”  Each of us started out the same as all the great ones of the world.  George Washington had two eyes, two feet and a brain.  Same with Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and every great person the world has known.  What made them great is what they DID. What we do with the opportunity given to us is our choice. That doesn’t mean just saying “I’m going to do something”, it’s actually doing it.  

I pass this message on to all my students when they are afraid to try something new.  Don’t limit themselves.  For my daughter, she could sit in her wheelchair and think of all the reasons she can’t do some things.  Instead, she thinks of the things she can do. It was risky and scary to try out for a musical when you can’t dance.  But she did not limit herself.  By the way, she got a part.