Methods and Materials

During the 2009-2010 academic year, I taught Methods and Materials at the University of Iowa.

The course provided pre-service elementary teachers with instructional methods in the visual arts for children age 3-12. Students enrolled in this class participate in a variety of studio art experiences designed for adult learners to build confidence in studio arts, generate age-appropriate lesson ideas for children, and explore a variety of media. Students will also explore the following questions:

  • Why should children study art?
  • What are the elements and principles of art and how can they be employed by elementary teachers to explore interdisciplinary content in other areas such as Science, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Language Arts?
  • How can we motivate children to become engaged in learning?
  • How can we improve the artistic perception and critical thinking of children through the arts?
  • What is visual culture?
  • How can we work effectively with children who have special needs and/or are gifted? How do you teach art making?
My students explored a variety of materials and techniques.  They painted a spring mural in conjunction with the other sections of the course for the Iowa City Public Library, created puppets of a favorite character from children’s literature, and created self-portrait collages.  Below are examples of their work.

West Liberty High School

I began my career as a high school teacher at West Liberty High School.  I recently had the chance to go back to West Liberty High School to supervise a student teacher.  During the twenty-minute ride, I reflected on how different I was when I began my professional career.  I commuted daily as a first year teacher car pooling with another first year teacher.  I thought about the students and my vivid memories of our time together.  They challenged me, and made me not only a better teacher, but a better person.    I felt a great sense of gratitude for my experiences as their teacher.