Monday, September 14, 2015

" Making our Mark", inspired by THE DOT by Peter Reynolds

During our second week in the YES Art Studio, all the young artists made  their mark, inspired by the book, The Dot, by Peter Reynolds.  In each class we started by watching the animated version of The Dot, and then proceeded to make our own " dot inspired" works of art.  The challenge was to use a 6 inch square and a yogurt container to make our own unique dot.
The password for 3rd and 4th graders was ' mixed-media', because they  used two different materials or media ( marker and watercolors, 3rd and crayon and watercolors 4th) to create their unique dots. Second graders password was crayon-resist.
Students were encouraged to make their dots, or ' their marks', different from anyone else's. The results were diverse, experimental in some cases, safer in others, but in all cases kids explored and felt pretty good about what they accomplished.  I have been laminating the dots and making them into " Dot Quilts" that are displayed around the school, so on your next visit in, check out the Dot Quilts.

In addition, the making of the dots was part of International Dot Day.
 Each year for the past few years artists of all ages from around the world have celebrated the empowerment of making ones mark, no matter how big or how small it may be.  In this way, September 15th has been declared International Dot Day, and this year over 3 million artists ( teachers and their students for the most part) have signed up to use artistic dots as a vehicle of creativity.

I have registered the students at YES to be part of this international celebrations, and plan to submit photos of the Dot Quilts to the website.  While each child's dot has  its own unique identity, the collective collaborative quilt of dot squares has a strong visual impact, with the whole, being stronger than the sum of its parts; hopefully echoing the strength our our community here at YES.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Welcome to the YES Art Studio Blog from Mrs. Higgison

Welcome to the Yarmouth Elementary Art Studio blog.  My name is Chak√© Higgison, and I am the new art teacher here at YES.  I am thrilled to be here and look forward to meeting the children, engaging them in making art and challenging them to have fun as well as to learn skills that will allow them to build confidence in their abilities to create and express themselves visually. 

Communicating with parents and community about what goes on in the Art Studio is important to me thus I plan to use this blog as one tool of communication.  However,  working with a blog is new for me so this may be a work in progress throughout the year while I find my way.  

 Traditionally, my means of communicating has been to attach " Notes from the Art Studio" to some works as they are sent home, so I plan on continuing that practice to a limited extent as well. 

Meeting your child where they are as artists is a goal of mine. A guiding principle is

that art is a universal language that children intuitively understand.   As the art teacher I try to make the program engaging and fun, and connect lessons, whenever possible to subjects the kids are studying in another discipline.  The basic skills of seeing and drawing are taught and nurtured as each child matures.

Within the art program children are encouraged to demonstrate and develop their visual literacy by exploring materials and processes,  practicing skills, developing vocabulary and making pieces of art that help create a deeper understanding of the world around them.
   Children come to school as natural born artists.  In the art studio I see my job as fostering their natural abilities. They come in as picture readers, already visually literate. I seek to let each child be empowered by their own creations and to see the value in the different styles we all bring to the works we create.  I tell the kids once they enter the art studio they are artists and in art there are multiple answers to any one question or problem.

   Creative problem solving is a constant in art. Whether it is the " problem " of how does one translate a three dimensional  vase of flowers into a two dimensional painting, or how  one constructs a clay snake so it has texture and form and does not break during the process of creation.  I am constantly letting the kids know they are solving problems every day in art; and that each problem has multiple ways to be approached and multiple solutions.

In being cognizant of the fact that verbal and written  literacy skills are important across the disciplines, students are exposed to and discuss visual images of famous artists from our past as well as contemporary artists whose works we can view online.

Going forward I hope to add to this blog but I hope this introduction of my teaching philosophy is helpful. I also have an ' about me' page if you are curious about my background, etc. Please don't hesitate to be in touch, I can be reached at or by stopping by the school.

Look forward to meeting your children and putting faces and names together.
C. K. Higgison
Sept. 7, 2015