Arts Integration into STEM creates STEAM

The Eldorado Emerson art program holds special significance for many in our community. This week I have decided to update all on the happenings in our extraordinary studio. Truly our youngest to our oldest are positively impacted by what they learn in this room; for many the lessons actually help them grow—not only artistically—but as people as well.

PreSchool

For the preschool, Mrs. Roxanne Weller oversees the art program. She has been trained by Dr. Wendy LaGreen, and Mrs. Weller mentors the other preschool teachers as our preschool staff strives to provide developmental art projects, as well as encourage creativity, wonder, and imagination in the children.
As for our elementary school, our students have been studying the work of Faith Ringgold. An African American folk artist, Ringgold creates quilts with a canvas in the middle. The canvas depicts a story from childhood. After becoming familiar with Ringgold’s work, our students produced their own versions, executing their art from a birds eye view. The students then framed their stories on canvas with real fabric squares. To complete the lesson, an expert quilter visited our school to share her work with the students, the most popular being Harry Potter and racecar quilts.

Lower School

This spring, the elementary students will move onto a unit that the 9th and 10th grades just completed.  This is the study of Romare Bearden and his collage paintings.  In this unit the freshman and sophomores listened to (and the elementary school will listen to) jazz as they worked, since Bearden himself was heavily influenced by this music.

Lower School

This spring, the elementary students will move onto a unit that the 9th and 10th grades just completed. This is the study of Romare Bearden and his collage paintings. In this unit the freshman and sophomores listened to (and the elementary school will listen to) jazz as they worked, since Bearden himself was heavily influenced by this music.

Middle School

As for the middle school, in addition to the juniors and seniors, they have been completing an historical study of American Folk Art. Each student created a character and completed a sketch of that character. Then the students sewed a fabric doll or created a papier-mâché figure of that character. These students are just now beginning to paint the figures.

Multi-Grade Collaboration

Finally, the fifth grade, the middle school, and 11th and 12th grades are working in alignment with STEM arts integration. In conjunction with STEM, the projects are presented as if the students are true American folk artists, unskilled and forced to create an innovative method to make toys for their children. Ultimately this arts integration into the STEM program is about doing something visually inviting while using principles and elements of design.

We are so fortunate to have Dr. Wendy LaGreen, Mrs. Marka Burns, and Ms. Julie Madelmont teaching in the art room. I cannot imagine a more talented staff. Sometimes, if I have a chance during the day, I’ll go over and join in on the project the students are completing. Truly I learn something every time I’m in there. And it’s not just the teachers who help me. No, the students themselves are really quick to point out my mistakes, and—yes—it is the youngest who are most vocal. A couple of weeks ago, a third-grader said, “You’re doing it wrong. It’s supposed to look like this.” She held up her paper with pride. “But hers,” she said, grabbing her friends with an enormous smile, “is even prettier!” Only at Eldorado.

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