I work together with not just a building of dedicated professionals, but an entire district of caring and hardworking teachers. From one of these teachers, Mr. Burkle, I have adapted some of his well-written words to reach out to you in this letter:
Art Making is a lot like cooking, and with our current times, I think we can look toward simple things we can often control at home, like what we eat, as sources of wisdom.
When you are first learning to cook, you usually follow a recipe very closely. You might be be able to watch someone else cook and learn from their experience. You are a practicing cook, an aspiring chef. After some practice, and following recipes carefully, you change or adapt something. Maybe you try green beans instead of broccoli in a casserole recipe that you have made a handful of times. Or you might decrease the sugar in a muffin recipe to see if you like it better a little less sweet. These are the choices of a chef. Even when you are following a recipe, you start to experiment with creativity in your cooking. A chef is a cook that writes the recipe and then many times cooks the recipe. A true chef is staring down a blank piece of paper, leaning on their experience, and writing down a recipe from scratch.
I want your child to behave like a chef.
I want your child to behave like an artist.
I want your child to write their own recipes.
I want your child to plan their own art.
Then I want them to cook their recipe as if they own the restaurant.
I want them to make their art as if they are in their own studio.
I expect that they taste the food that they have prepared and share it with others.
I expect that they compose an artist's statement about their art and share it with others.
And finally, I hope that they take this creative cooking experience and, in some way, apply it to their next recipe.
And finally, I hope that they take this creative making experience and, in some way, apply it to their next work of art.
Your child spent the beginning of the year as a cook in the art room. Then slowly transitioned toward being a chef. We started the year with required skill builder art assignments. My yearlong goal is that they are behaving as an independent artist going into the summer. In the summer at home, they have the amazing opportunity to create things without the interference of a school classroom setting. These current events have led to your young artist to independence about 8 weeks early.
Your child has had enough cooking lessons this year; let them write their own recipes.
I believe your child needs the time, space, supplies and support to practice being an independent artist.
5 Ways Adults at Home Can Help Students
I realize how busy you have become. Here are some simple ways you can help connect your child to their Art teacher.
- Call me. Follow this script if it helps: 1. Say, "Hi, Mr. Nicholson, this is (parent's name). (Child's name) would like to speak with you". 2. Hand the phone to your child and I will talk with them about how things are going, their art, and what they might make next. If I don’t answer, leave a message, and I’ll call back if you’d like. 719-328-3341
- If your child uses their D11 email, then you could ask your child to email me. This might be a great way for your child and I to have a month-long conversation about the art they are making at home. firstname.lastname@example.org
- When your child makes something. Take a quick photo and email it to me. I will write a response that you can read to your child later.
- If your child has access to a tablet, phone or computer, you might help them connect with me on Seesaw. There is a Seesaw Family app. The family app will not let your child post on Seesaw. Download the Seesaw Class app onto their device. Have your child email me to request their personal Seesaw login code. They will click the 'Student' button and then add their code. The code will look like ACFE HMCI ZPOM. Call me if you need help.
- If you have the time to really help your child recreate the Rogers Art Studio at your home, please help them follow this process.
- Plan - Plan your next work of art in your mind or on a sheet of paper. Doodling, play, and silliness are great starting points for art. "What would you like to make today?" "Would you like to make art about what is going on around you or about something very far away?"
- Create - Create half of your art. Ask someone in your house or Mr. Burkle for a Compliment Sandwich. Finish your art.
- Reflect - Write, type or dictate your Reflection or Artist’s Statement
- Mount - Prepare your art for display
- Publish – Post on Seesaw or Email your art and statement to Mr. Nicholson
Current Art Teacher Responsibilities
- My first responsibility as your child's art teacher in this situation is to be a source of positive feedback. Your child will continue to cook if the people eating the food are making yummy noises. All of my email replies will include at least two compliments on their work.
- My second responsibility as your child's art teacher is to feed your child with art content that your child has shown a possible interest. If your child is creating cartoon drawings, then I will send them links to famous cartoons, cartoon lessons, cartooning content. Chefs still learn, they just have earned the privilege of choosing what it is what they wish to learn.
- My third responsibility is to fill this teacher site with content that you and your child may access. There will be times where your young artist will not have an idea. This website has open-ended ideas and activity starters. It consciously does not have complete recipes. If I assign all 4th graders the task of drawing a happy landscape in an abstract style with cool color crayons, typically only about 25 percent of those 4th graders will actually be interested. 75 percent of those young artists will grumpily, finish it as quickly as possible, and will turn off their interest in making art.
- My fourth responsibility is to support you, our young artist's parental units. Please, email me with any questions and concerns. I will give my response the time and respect you deserve in this educational environment. Think of me as an open-air farmers market. (Ok, yes, the analogy has gone too far:) I have a whole bookshelf, files and the internet here at home full of art resources. Do not hesitate to email me with requests.
Wishing you and yours yummy nutrition.