The Killington Arts Room is a vibrant and active visual arts learning center on Fridays! Drawing, painting, papier maché, clay, collage, printmaking, pastels, pen and ink, maskmaking, book arts, textiles and weaving, metal embossing, murals, environmental art, recycled sculptures and “free art”—these are some of the avenues we explore in the Visual Arts program to enhance the rich academic atmosphere at Killington Elementary School. Once each week, students spend close to an hour in the Arts Room looking at art, discussing ideas and engaging in hands-on activities.
Throughout a student's elementary school art experience, he/she is encouraged to explore the following questions:
1) How can I learn from observing the work of other artists,
past and present?
2) What do I have to say as an artist?
Grades K/1 begin their artistic journey with the “Elements of Art”—lessons and activities focused on line, shape, color, form, texture, space and value. Each lesson incorporates a new skill or concept (scissor work, clay techniques, proportions of the human body, etc.) or a new medium (papier maché, pastels, scratchboard, etc.) until the students feel comfortable with most of the supplies available to them in the Arts Room. Then students are allowed somewhat more freedom in their self-expression. There is an intentional balance between the process of making art and two-dimensional or three-dimensional final products.
Grade 2-6 art classes typically begin with a brief introduction to a specific artist, an artistic style or a technique using a number of images and visual references. Student observations, opinions and connections guide the class discussions, which are punctuated by mini-lessons focused on various steps in the hands-on creation of a finished piece of art. As the year proceeds, students are also presented with more technically advanced projects to develop problem-solving skills and encourage collaboration. Each class completes at least one cooperative group project, such as an outdoor mural, props for a play or a three-dimensional display. Student art is displayed throughout the school on a regular basis.
Integrating art projects with grade-specific curriculum is a priority for Killington faculty, so communication lines with classroom teachers are always open. Favorite rites of passage include second grade papier maché animals, fourth grade clay bas relief tiles and sixth grade self-portraits. Some art classes are multi-age groupings, but most are straight grades with very manageable numbers of students.
Students are assessed with a mid-year narrative report that focuses on the development of artistic skills and classroom social behavior as described below:
· Listen, participate and make good use of class time
· Use materials safely
· Cooperate in groups as appropriate and offer constructive contributions
· Try new strategies and techniques
· Complete quality work
The Visual Arts program enthusiastically supports the performing arts at Killington Elementary School. Scenery and props for musical concerts, dramatic performances and school-wide celebrations are frequently designed and constructed by students.