In addition to a traditional school calendar, Lapeer Community Schools offers a voluntary year-round program for the middle school level. The idea is to give the students a shorter summer with more frequent breaks throughout the year in order to alleviate the “summer slide”. This summer I had the privilege to teach art to students within this program.
Our session met for two periods each day, which made for some very productive work and lively art engagement. We explored both contemporary and historical art genres and artists, created some incredible work, and had multiple opportunities to strengthen our visual literacy skills through classroom discussions, critiques and writing responses. Some of art making consisted of metamorphosis, tessellations, metal tooling, and line designs.
Providing a year-round program not only benefits a student academically but also offers social and emotional advantages. Year-round students have a special connection to their school community and remain on a consistent schedule, which makes for smoother transitions when the traditional calendar begins. Additionally students are able to exercise their creative faculties through artistic experiences gaining powerful skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and social and cultural awareness.
I feel that this program is also valuable for teachers for the very same reasons that it benefits the students. I enjoyed my summer placement and wish the students well as they phase into the new school year and are joined by their traditional calendar year peers.
Year Round Sixth Grade
In this lesson students broke up into groups of 5-8 to create lists of masks. They considered masks that they know of, have seen, and have worn. Next the whole class joined together to create categories of masks and determined what category their masks would be placed in. Lastly, they decided that some categories could belong within others. For example the Halloween category was placed into the Celebrations category. Some of the final categories included Protection, Ceremony, Health, and Sports. After the masks were completed, students created wall tags for their mask, which included the category of the mask, and it’s use.
· Students brainstormed and drew out at least four different mask ideas before they decided upon a final design.
· The final design was edited and made actual size and then taped onto colored metal tooling. The lines of the design were traced and then the paper was removed so that the foil could be pushed in or out on either side in order to create the interest of texture.
· Next students chose areas of the mask to highlight with color using permanent markers.
· Finally students decided on what embellishments they wanted to add to complete their mask.