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Swan Valley School District

Swan Valley School District

Swan Valley Elementary School provides art for all of the students enrolled at the school. This is about 75 students in grades PK-8th grade. They have the opportunity to participate in art every Friday during the school year.

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

How will our students develop critical thinking skills to analyze and make informed decisions about the visual arts?

Students will be able to develop critical thinking skills by analyzing other visual art works and developing their own opinion on the visual arts. They will be able to ask questions such as, why did an artist do this? or What were the artist feelings? By developing critical thinking skills about visual arts, students can transfer these skills to other avenues.

At the conclusion of the project, students responded to questions related to the identified Standards:

When visiting with students at our school, they have informed the school that art is their favorite subject here. They have an opportunity to explore their creative side, gather ideas from other artist, and create their own art work. Many students have expressed that they were happy with their work and didn’t know they were capable of doing it.

Impact

As stated above in the student response, as a school administrator I admire it when a student tells you they didn’t know they were capable of doing the project. This tells me that the student was confronted with a challenging project, they struggled, created a project, and succeeded. This struggle and process is so vital to help students develop skills in life to help them be successful in whatever they do.

Reflection

First of all it is imperative that you bring somebody in that not only knows the arts but has the classroom management skills to help your students be successful in their projects. For us, we like the consistency of art time every Friday. Our students and teachers know what the expectation is. Second, our students know we expect a final outcome from the project. They will struggle but they know they will do their best and project a final product. Lastly, small rural schools struggle to provide opportunities in all avenues of life but art is so vital for our students sucesss in creativity.

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