r Larry Shumway, Art Board, and Lori Walker, Nebo School District’s elementary art specialist, recently made a presentation to the Nebo School District Board of Education regarding how teachers and students are integrating the arts into their curriculum.
The “Out My Window” deciduous tree project for fourth graders at Spring Lake Elementary School in Payson began when the team of fourth-grade teachers met with the Nebo School District visual art specialist. In the meeting, one teacher said she wanted a project to enrich the science unit she teaches to all the fourth-graders. The unit was coniferous and deciduous trees. Through collaboration with the art specialist, the team decided a watercolor wash method on watercolor paper would provide a bright background for the scene. They used black paper to get silhouettes for the window frame and deciduous tree and branches. The students and teachers were involved the next day in classrooms making the project. The teachers now have the skills to continue to use this project and other projects that would include watercolor wash and silhouettes in other areas of their curriculum.
David Hatfield, a fourth-grade student at Spring Lake Elementary, said, “The painting was the best part. Doing the watercolor wash was fun ‘cause I hadn’t done it. I usually just paint, but we used water first. I wanted the tree coming from the side. I knew the branches should be spikey.”
Elissa Petrell, a fourth-grade student at Spring Lake Elementary, said, “I feel good about my art. I had never had a compliment like this before in any way. It was a good experience when you came in. I always felt like my art wasn’t good before. I felt like everyone was better than me at everything. You let us imagine trees and color and background to create, and it made me feel free. Students could create the color wash and the tree in the way they chose to.”
The “Out My Window” deciduous tree project is an excellent example of how to create and embed integrated visual art lessons into educational curriculum maps.