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The complexity of the projects and techniques increases with each grade level. All projects are intended to allow the students to apply prior knowledge, to learn new techniques and vocabulary, to develop skills and apply principles of art and composition. Each unit is designed with clear objectives for learning but also with room for self-expression. Some lessons involve drawing from life and having real objects to look at, some rely on photo references, and some depend completely on the memory and imagination of students.

Students not only learn to identify and apply the elements of art and principles of good composition in both 2- and 3- dimensional artwork, but they also develop valuable Habits of Mind that help them succeed beyond the art classroom. Art students routinely create, imagine and innovate. By engaging in art making, students learn to persevere as they work on complex, multi-stage projects such as ceramics (they may be faced with challenges ranging from dealing with the force of gravity, drying clay, and occasional accidents). Such obstacles become great opportunities for learning, as they cause students to re-think their designs or processes. Students are given opportunities to take risks and are encouraged to work through various challenges on a regular basis. The art room is a safe environment to try new things and to try them multiple times.

Other Habits of Mind our students practice include thinking flexibly, as they generate various ways of approaching a subject matter, and applying past knowledge to new situations, as they learn principles such as linear perspective. Students respond in wonderment and awe, as they learn to closely observe the world around them and to translate it into pictures and sculptures. The art classroom proves to be a valuable place for students to acquire a myriad of life skills, including creative problem solving, critical thinking, fine motor skills, communication, planning and craftsmanship.

Joseph Sears School artists are expected to be willing to try new things and to give their best effort; to learn, understand and apply appropriate art processes; to listen attentively, follow directions, and to take pride in their work.

Department Resources

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