Which of these art prints best represents the way you feel about being in art class? Why?
"I think that picture # 3 shows most about how I feel to be in art. The fact that it has a lot of different colors and patterns reminds me of how excited I am to make a lot of different things. The woman in the picture looks happy and like she's having lots of fun. That reminds me how I want to have lots of fun and be happy in this class."
"I would say number seven best represents my feelings. I say this because it contains warm and cool colors which doesn't show a determined emotion. It relates because I'm not for sure how this class works. It also shows a woman smiling. I like art so it makes me happy to be in this class."
"I think that painting # 4 suits me right now because I am happy. Plus, I wanted to see my friends and have fun."
I chose number three to express how I feel about art class because I am excited! I think that the colors show excitement and the picture shows dancing. I am into crafts and stuff like that, so I am excited to see what art is like."
I wish I could say that all of my students had selected the happy and excited emotions, but they did not. Some chose #1 and rightly so, because good art takes work. Other students were somewhat scared of art or maybe even unhappy to be in art. As I dug deeper into their feelings, for most of them it was due to the fact that they do not feel they are good at art. I tell them about two students who have been in my class. The first is "Scott"...by the way, not his real name. Scott's motor skills were extremely low and his drawings were more like those of a preschool student. His academic skills were also way below grade level. Needless to say, as we took tests and did various types of drawings, he was not having success...and to be honest, I had begun to expect low functioning from Scott. Then one day, it was time for our ceramic unit. I lie to you not, in one class period, Scott had a recognizable character that showed a delightful expression...all made out of the clay! All the other students basically still had lumps of clay, but not Scott. It was an eye opening moment for all of us. Scott was successful in this method of creating art and he was receiving lots of positive comments from everyone. Different methods of creating art require different skills and techniques....thus allowing varying degrees of success.
Another student's experience I share with them, is that of Melody....again, not her real name. Melody was a straight A student and she was not happy to be in art. I asked her to give me her very best effort and of course, she did. As the semester progressed, I saw Melody being successful, but I could not always read her emotions to know if "she" felt like she was being successful. At the end of the semester, I received a note from her that basically said, "I didn't know that I could like art as much as I do now." Yep, I still have that note! ;)
My hope is that all of those students who are not happy to be in art will become like Scott and Melody. I also know that for some, it might not happen. However, all I ask is that they give their very best effort and give art a chance.