|Still Life created by Sam C. using The Art Zone|
"ELBOW: Every day life, Light, Brushstrokes, Outside, Weather!" answered another ten year old child to the question: "What are the characteristics of Impressionist's paintings?"
If you ask me, most fourth grade students (and many adults) would not know the answers to these types of questions, yet they are common place in our school when the children are involved in our "Docent" lessons. This program which started over 15 years ago by one of the teachers and several parents continues today. Parent volunteers, also known as, Docents, visit our 3rd grade - 5th grade classrooms once a month and present a different artist or genre. At that time it is not unusual to see students dissecting the paintings of the Old Masters, Mary Cassat or Picasso. They explore the American Period (John Singleton Copley & John Singer Sargent), Ancient Egyptian Art, Asian Art and more. The Docent program takes Art in the Classroom to a new level. It compliments and expands on what the students are learning during their art classes at school.
|Rainbow by Sam C.|
The culminating activity in fourth grade is a field trip to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Students explore the different exhibits with a Docent. Describing and scrutinizing 'up close' those paintings they were introduced to in the classroom presentations. Asking questions and viewing the sculptures makes art come to life. And always, the most coveted, most talked about portion of the trip is the visit to the Egyptian room which holds real mummies! Such a highlight!
Most people would think that the kids are too young to appreciate "fine art," but I tell you that my students are more knowledgeable than most when it comes to surveying a painting's genre, balance, expressive or formal properties and more. One needs only visit my classroom during a Docent presentation to see their excitement as they spy new artists.
Does your school have a Docent program? If so, how is it presented?
The Art Zone: For kids: Try creating a Still Life, a Collage, a Mosiac and more with this interactive site from the National Gallery of Art.
|Created using Picassohead|
The National Gallery of Art Visit this Washington DC gallery site to see many of the art pieces online.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (of New York) shares many of its collections online as well.
Web Gallery of Art - a virtual museum started in 1996.
Museum of Fine Arts (Boston) - Kids and Family programs. (Check your local museum for similar programs.)
Art Docent Program: This is a fee-based program for grades K-6 which includes lessons developed in 1984 by art educator and author Barbara Herberholz.
Check out this video about the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and see some of the exhibits my students were able to peruse.