Like everyone, I'm always amazed at how rapidly the school year flies by, especially in art at the elementary level. Perhaps the lack of snow days and therefore the uninterrupted schedule added to this, but I think the growth the children show from September to June really is what makes the days disappear so quickly.
Recently, I was returning some kindergarten art that I had kept since the early part of the school year. The assignment had the children cut out large crayon shapes using templates. They were then asked to illustrate portraits of themselves in these shapes. These "crayon kids" not only put tracing and drawing skills to the test but also indicated how well a student manipulated a pair of scissors. The signature on the back served as an indicator of their writing skills. Sifting through these, I was first struck by how well some students accomplished all of the above in what amounted to one of their very first school assignments. Even more amazing to me is looking at the ones that were cut out in a crude way or illustrated with nothing more than a few scribbles, then turning them over to decipher the name on the back. These are the ones that bring me the most satisfaction as I can easily recall later drawings, paintings, glued projects and clay objects that show a mastery of many of these skills.
Kindergarten is not the only place where great strides have been taken. First grade students can boast of their corn on the cob assemblages, styrofoam snowmen, scratchboard art, watercolors and many more creations. Second grade students who've displayed their artistic progression for me for three years are truly accomplished in so many areas. I think of their HOD candy bars, paper towel pilgrim people and carolers, clay "food" and of course the Master "pieces" series that was on display at Family Fitness Night, just to name a few. For these students I wish the best for their future. For everyone else, enjoy the summer and I hope to see everyone back in September ready to create!