A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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A Teacher Who Encourages Creativity

Posted by lindamartinandersen on September 10, 2012


 

 

“A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

Today’s Theme:

Encourage Creativity–

Think outside the Box 

As a new school year kicks off, questions are in the air:  Who’s your teacher?  What’s your schedule? Which is your favorite class?

Many students would answer that art is their favorite class because it’s fun.  Art provides a chance to create and outstanding teachers encourage that creativity. 

Here to share more about art and creativity is Laura Reeves, an art teacher at an elementary school.  She is also the illustrator of a picture book series written by her former high school English teacher, Martha Goetz.  Talk about thinking outside the box!

Laura paints kitchen mural

Welcome Laura Reeves.

*Applause. 

Tell us about yourself, your art, and teaching art.

Laura’s Artist StatementArt is so much a part of me that I can’t imagine my life without it; I love the creative process.  The longer I am alive, the more I appreciate the gift of art.  I am inspired by simple things I see every day, as well as my own experiences, people I know, animals, and books and stories.  My Japanese heritage subtly but distinctly influences my art.  The children I teach influence my art as well: their artwork, humor, and fresh perspective on the world.
        Flowers and trees are favorite subject matter for me to paint and draw; God’s designs in nature are amazing and breathtaking and a lot of fun to paint.   A few of my favorite artists are Marc Chagall, Frida Kahlo, and Vincent Van Gogh, among countless others.  I feel very blessed to live a creative life, surrounded by family and friends.  I have been making art since I can remember, but it really feels as if I’ve only just begun…
I specialize in individually commissioned paintings, murals, and illustration, but my experience includes several forms of art and design, including logo design, set painting for children’s theater, website design, and product design.  My paintings can be found in homes, businesses, and schools throughout North Carolina and in a few other states and countries, including Japan and France.

And now for the interview…

1.  Laura, today’s theme is “Encourage Creativity: Think outside the Box.” What does this mean to you?

Thinking outside the box is what art is all about.  However it is important to teach students the basic skills and elements of art so they have the tools with which to express their creativity.

2.  Describe yourself as an artist, remembering to keep today’s theme in mind.

I would describe my style as whimsical.  I don’t take my art too seriously; it would take the fun out of it.  I think art is a fascinating challenge.

3.  Name at least three ways students can “think outside the box” with art projects?

 First, don’t always stick with your first idea when brainstorming.  Sometimes the best ideas come later on in a brainstorming session.  Second, look past the obvious solutions/ideas.  Third, have fun.  Art is supposed to be fun.

4.  Name at least three ways students can “think outside the box” with other classroom assignments?

I would say the same as number 3.

5.  Describe a student art project that demonstrated “thinking outside the box.”

 Making up a monster is a very creative project in which students have to think outside the box.  The monster does not have to be realistic; it can be funny, silly, scary, whatever.  It can have as many arms, legs, eyeballs, etc. as you want. 

6.  Many students carry an art supply box.  What supplies would you suggest for an elementary child’s box?

Crayons, pencils, a pencil sharpener, color pencils, markers, and paper. 

7.  What art supplies would you suggest for middle school and high school students?

 the same as #6, except a wider variety of color pencils and higher quality art supplies

8.  Laura, please tell of a time that art made a positive difference for a student.

Any time a child is having kind of a bad day, and they leave art class feeling a little more cheerful, I am happy.  I think that happens all the time.

9.  September 10, 2012 is Swap Ideas Day.  Tell of a time students swapped ideas in art class.  Do you encourage students to swap ideas or to work independently?  Why?

My third and fourth graders like to make collaborative, elaborate drawings of towns, castles, etc.  They get ideas from books from the book shelf, their imagination, etc. It is interesting to see what they come up with.

10.  This is Apple Month.  Often students bring an apple for a favorite teacher.  How have you used apples as part of an art assignment? 

Not really, but I would like to do cut fruit and vegetable printing this year! 

11.  What words spoken by a student would mean far more to you than receiving a polished red apple?

“I love art class!”

12.  If you were leading students on a walk outdoors, what art activity might you suggest?

Doing crayon or pencil rubbings of leaves or sitting in a quiet spot and drawing from nature in a sketchbook. 

Thank you, Laura Reeves, for all you do for children and for art education.  And thank you for taking time to join us at “A Writer’s Playground.”

Have a great school year everyone!

To learn more about Laura Reeves and the Tristan Trapp book series, visit Laura’s websites:

http://www.reevesartworks.com/

http://www.tristantrapp.com/

Copyright © 2012 Linda Martin Andersen

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4 Responses to “A Teacher Who Encourages Creativity”

  1. You and Laura might be interested in this online newsletter: http://literacyhead.com– they sound right up Laura’s alley!

  2. Carol,
    What a great suggestion about the online newsletter. Thank you. I will pass it on. It looks like full membership provides wonderful resources also.

    Thanks for all you add to this blog through your comments. “A Writer’s Playground” is always glad to have you visit. Enjoy the sunshine and lovely Fall-like weather this week.

  3. Dear Linda and Laura,
    Thank you very much for inspiring, whimsical, and fun ideas for art. I always enjoyed art class. I appreciate you both.

    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

    • Joan,

      Thanks so much for being a faithful blog follower and a great friend. Laura is a terrific teacher and kids benefit so much from her example. Keep illustrating your projects too. Being artistic is a blessing.

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