Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Students earn their degree in Seuss-ology!

On Friday, March 3 the Lynch-Bustin Elementary School held a Family Fun Night they called the “Seuss-a-Rama”. Students who attended with their parents were able to play educational games, create crafts, enjoy snacks, and do a science experiment. Every activity was somehow related to the books of author and illustrator Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Attendance was huge for the event. Over 715 students or family members filled the halls, and moved from station to station participating in learning activities.

My main purpose in holding the event was to bring attention to the fantastic artwork these students make. Displays of artwork filled every hallway, with at least one work of art for every student in the school. About 800 works of art in all were displayed. The works of Dr. Seuss in some way inspired every project.

Fifth grade students made acrylic paintings on canvas. Using the techniques of impasto, drybrush, pointillism or graded wash they created a reinterpretation of a Seuss character. Fourth grade students made “Poetic Prints” from blocks carved by a material called Safety Cut. Third Graders made “Wubbulous Watercolors”, in which they made pen and ink drawings with pen and ink of Seuss characters which they then painted with watercolor techniques the learned, such as wet on wet, graded wash, drybrush and “the Thirsty Brush”. Other classes created drawings inspired by a Seuss book in some way.

Twenty years ago, art education primarily emphasized teaching about art. We still do that. However, current trends in art education emphasize not just teaching about art but teaching other subjects with art and through art. Art is a powerful ally for students struggling to learn reading, writing and many other subjects. In my opinion, when all subjects work cooperatively rather than in seclusion, learning of all subjects is best facilitated. The theme of Seuss was a great one because he was both a writer and an artist. Seuss was very perceptive in how students learn and what gets their attention. I have a favorite quote by Seuss that I had on display at my desk during this unit of study. Here is that quote:

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It’s a way of looking a life through the wrong end of a telescope – which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” -Dr. Seuss

1 comment:

Linda said...

I am a teacher at Lynch-Bustin Elementary, and I had the opportunity to experience this wonderful event. Andy is a gift to our students! We are so lucky to have him in our building. Thanks Andy!