OVERVIEW of the Art Program: 

    As an art teacher, my goal is to provide opportunities for young students to discover that  ART, both the making of and the appreciation for, can be an important, joyful part of their lives. 

    The Mill Valley School District ART Program emphasizes a studio-based curriculum and places the artists' creativity and development of art-making skills (and confidence in those skills) at its center. Students discover, investigate, and experiment with many, many art-making materials, tools, and processes. Mill Valley Art Students have the opportunity to experience a balance of the following: drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, mixed-media, photography, sculpture, ceramics, and crafts. 

    Art history lessons, discussions of cultural contexts, and connections to other art forms and subject areas often inspire, inform, or grow out of our projects. Students are guided to develop artistic perceptions and a sense of aesthetic valuing. They are encouraged to respect and expand their own creativity and to apply personal preferences as they problem solve during the ART-making process. Students learn that ideas and opinions can be expressed and communicated through ART. Thoughtful reflection is encouraged during our art class time and is viewed as an important part of each ART lesson.* 

    NEW THOUGHTS on how to continue with an important part of the Art Program now that we are away from school (added 3/13/2020):

    *This sentence: "Thoughtful reflection is encouraged during our art class time and is viewed as an important part of each ART lesson" has been the final sentence in my short statement of approach to teaching art and the goals of the art program for the past several school seasons. 

    I feel a need to add a few more paragraphs now that we no longer have art class time, and therefore I no longer have the same opportunities for conversations with student artists.  I am hoping we might find some way to keep these student artists reflecting on their work (questioning, explaining, and evaluating).

    One way that I hope might encourage reflection would be for you to e-mail me a picture of any projects made during our time away from school. I would love to see what your student has been creating. My favorite pictures have been those sent that include the artist proudly holding up their art. I will reply and respond to the image sent (but will keep the image private and will not post work on line). My e-mail is: scampbell@mvschools.org

    A second way to help an artist develop the trait of being a reflective artist is to encourage them to speak about their art with YOU. Remember, an important goal of any conversation with a child about their art is to keep the child enthusiastic about making art. You might be familiar with the book Ish, by Peter H. Reynolds. It points out the ramifications of 'a single reckless remark'.



    Here are some other tips for talking about art with a young artist. 

    It is important to realize that opinions about art are subjective and your child's opinion, as well as your own, should be valued. My advice is to not try to bend your child's opinion to yours but to take turns in sharing thoughts about the piece. 

    Ask the artist about their process.  What did you do first? Then what?

    Ask the artist about their choice of materials.   What did you use to make this?  Would you have used something else if you had some other material available?

    Do you like the way it came out? Do you have a favorite part? Were there any surprises for you while creating this piece or did it all go as you planned? Do you feel you made good decisions while creating this piece? Would you do anything differently if you could?  Can you think of anything you might add that might make it more interesting?  Do you feel this work of art is now finished?

    If you want to expand the conversation about an artwork, you might also include references to some of the Elements of Art (line, color, shape, form, texture, value, space) 

    or some of the 

    Principles of Design (balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, proportion, repetition, rhythm, unity, variation).

    Yay ART!  Have fun looking, thinking, and talking!

    NEWER THOUGHTS (5/23/2020) Just found this pertinent page on the deYoung website:


    I think you will find that it has some interesting insights into ways that a conversation could be constructed to help student artists think about their artmaking.