Second term, the Art Department offers a rare culturally enriching opportunity for Junior High students to learn about North American Native Indians. The restoration of our AMICUS Totem Pole will teach our youth about rituals, traditions, and meanings of wise teachings from Indian elders who hold the wisdom of Mother Earth.
Totem Poles have spirit animals on them to show wisdom, humility, truth, respect, love, courage and honesty. These seven tribal teachings are represented by the beaver, wolf, turtle, buffalo, eagle, bear, and sa-be “bigfoot”
Reconnecting to knowledge and teachings about the great spirit is a rich way for our children to gain insight about themselves, the earth and their life, through art.
THE AMICUS TOTEM POLE NOW (Before restoration project)
Here is how we expect our totem pole to look like after the restoration project:
Our very talented students explore Vincent Van Gogh and his painting style, technique, and subject matter.Van Gogh is one of the most famous painters in the world.
The Art Classroom is an excellent place to unite differences. Each students cultural background, ethnic or racial foundation, can be used in art. Art unites diversity through expression and communication using the elements and principles of art. The elements of art are line, colour, shape, space, form, texture and value. The principles of art are gradation, pattern, balance, contrast, variety, rhythm, and and emphasis. Using these elements and principles,a teacher can create a positive classroom climate.
Students all have personal micro-climates within their minds and hearts. These micro-climates are made up of personal issues about family, self-image, and friendships, just to name a few. A variety of issues can cause students to withdraw, or quietly live inside their minds without ever sharing. Sometimes they get taunted by peers, other times, even by their family members and teachers.
In my classroom, I try to create an open, safe and accepting environment where every student can find acceptance, praise, and understanding. To create this positive relationship with students, a teacher has to do a number of things. First, the teacher has to reassure the students that making mistakes is a welcome experience. If you want to create original work, and if you want to discover new things about yourself and the world, we have to feel comfortable to make mistakes-many of them.
Cultural groups exist in the school as well as outside the school. I share my cultural upbringing, and how adversity brought me to paint and become a teacher, specifically now an art teacher. This makes the students opened to share their personal experiences. Even if they do not want to share out loud, they feel at ease to create inside a classroom. Segregation disappears and students look at each other beyond appearance, beliefs, and ability.
Each student comes from a diverse background, so building self-esteem occurs when we talk about our differences and create art. Then, we see how the art created is linked through the elements and principles of art. So, even though students express their celebrated differences, we can see how art unites us. Their art can be discussed using terminology about line, colour, space, value, form, texture and shape. We analyse gradation and movement, pattern and contrast, unity, rhythm and emphasis. These powerful communicative tools help us move beyond the judgmental surface of our physical individuality. We look at the art the person creates rather than the person. Art becomes our human experience.