Nancy Aborjaily teaches art at Wellsville Middle School; this year she included a writing component with three grade level art assignments. The goal was to better engage families in the process and product of their child’s artwork.
When their artwork was complete, students were asked to compose a personal letter to their families that highlighted the following: what’s the project; what did you struggle with; what did completing the project teach you about perseverance and grit; and lastly, how did you feel when you completed the project?
Nancy states, “One of the things I have strived to teach students in class is that when they are confronted with an obstacle, they need to stick with it; dig in and work hard to overcome it and solve their ‘artistic’ problem especially when they might want to give up and abandon the work.” Nancy explained that when someone observes a completed work, there’s no way to know or to “see” the perseverance and grit. The students’ letters enabled families to experience more than the completed artwork.
The reflection process was rewarding for the students and their families.
Nancy added, “This idea grew out of my need to let families know how hard their children work to meet and overcome challenges that art projects often times present.” Students gave voice to challenge, hard work, and success; hopefully, they’ll apply the process to other challenges they face in their lives.
With the letters, Nancy included a color photo of the artwork. These items helped with important dialogue at home about the artwork. Nancy said, “Student and family responses were amazing and heartfelt; the process gave families a front row seat in their child’s classroom; it was a smashing success!”
Grade 6: Giant Self Portrait
Grade 7: Indonesian Shadow Puppets *displayed at the David A. Howe Public Library in Wellsville
Grade 8: Grid Art
By Anne Mitchell, CA BOCES and Portville Central School
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