Choice-based Art for Students with Disabilities

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Going through mounting artworks for Arnheim Gallery

Today, I mounted digital pixes of students' 3D works and original 2D works. As I spread out the mounted works, I couldn't help noticing no two projects look alike, each one has it's own theme and unique learning approaches.

I think back when I have been working with my art students for past nine years. Many times I have told them it is not just about doing art but much more in seeing them applying their critical thinking skill, problem-solving skill, mastering tools with proper usuage and care, talking in art terms with on-going dialogues (this one is the hardest for the kids and me due to visual cognitive language comprehension, I am working on it], also working-in-progress, practicing, practicing, practicing, doing it again and again with each new in-sightful suggestions to try. One thing for sure, I never have had a dull moment!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

My favorite highlight of today's Construction Center!

Since I introduced Construction Center a month ago, I started to see how creative and inventive some of my deaf students are doing.

This particular student, age 12, has amazed me with his hidden inventive mind to come up with a potential invention to improve his deaf peers' communication some day. First of all, he is a bright receptive learner with difficulty to express himself clearly through sign language and no vocalizing speech skill. Yet he has the very keen observational and critical thinking skills to create a "Videophone answering machine CD/DVD Burner". He managed to explain to me that if a deaf person need to leave a phone message. That calling person, deaf or hearing, would leave his/her own video-imaged of his/her signing messages on the CD/DVD burner. Then the recieving person would see a flashed signal of incoming call. He/she would take out the CD from the answering machine and insert it into the DVD player and watched the messages who called on the TV SCreen! My own Deaf son, a high school senior, thought that would be the coolest thing to have.

The point here is any kids with special needs has some surprising hidden talents of what they are capable of beyond their disabilities. The choice-based art learning brings out the delightful unexpected artistic results when you least expected from these unique kids.

Monday, February 14, 2005

It's February already

So far having centers set up and running. One of most popular centers I have introduced is the Construction Center. The preschoolers have been practicing how to saw and hammer safely with safety rules they must follow (with safety goggles and adult staff supervision). They just love to hammer away those nails on wooden scraps. I should be getting a huge stand-alone tree stump installed in my art room for nail-driven practices. Great for practicing hands-eyes coordinations and gross motor skills; early safety training skills with respect to tools' handling and putting these away. The elementary students, especially the boys!, are into creating a birdhouse, a sitting skateboard, a dance house, and a mysterious wooden sculpture yet to be determined. A pair of high school boys are building a World Trade Center model with recycled materials, which require their independent critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Fiber Art Center is the second popular one. The preschoolers and elementary students are not yet interested to it. The middle and high school transition (special needs) students are into circular weaving on pizza rounds and with old telephone cables and yarns. Two different rug hooking projects shared the same rug frame setup, are work in progress: first is with oxford punch needle and yarns; and other one is with a rug hook and precut skinny fabric strips.

Painting Center is next doing on 2D and 3D surfaces. All levels of learning are attracted to this center.

Clay Center has sort of quiet down after excitement playing with wet clays and plenty of pieces were made: lizard bowl, hearts, star-patterned bowl, basketball, hand-built bowls. Few high school students experiment with the electric pottery wheel. All half-hour classes were not permitted to use the whell because time is too short and needs my 1:1 instructional guidances.

As of this week, I am getting the digital pixes of students' works and mounting them for the upcoming NAEA event in Boston during March 4-8, 2005. These will be exhibit along with the other TAB colleagues' student artworks as well at the Massachusett College of Arts's Anhiem Gallery. Whoever reads this should come and see the students' works from our choice-based art programs, then!

Happy Valentine!

Choice-based Art for Students with Disabilities

Choice-based Art for Students with Disabilities: "based "