Program paints a pretty picture for students

By Katey Garrett

A small, shy boy in Lindsay was known to communicate with his teacher only by nodding his head and occasionally smiling.

Recently, the small boy participated in a new class project known as Picture Writing and after drawing a picture, the young boy stood in front of the class and read a descriptive paragraph about his creation.

This time, it was the teacher who was speechless.

Teachers in Lindsay have found that students are responding well to Picture Writing, an activity where students can create a picture or painting. The student then writes a story or description of the creation and is encouraged to share with the class.

The National Assembly of the State Arts Agency said that 86% of all parents agree that art education has a positive impact on their child's attitude towards school and makes a large impact on the developmental growth of every child.

The core academic subjects included in the No Child Left Behind Act are defined as language arts, science, mathematics, civics, foreign language, economics, history, geography and arts. Unfortunately, the Rayn Act of 1970 does not require educators to complete art education courses to be credentialed. Although several educators wish to comply with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, many feel a lack of confidence when it comes to including art education as apart of classroom curriculum.

With the help of a federal grant and a passion for incorporating creativity in the classroom, Michelle Bussey, who recently returned from viewing student art in China, trains Lindsay teachers in the area of visual arts, which empowers educators with skills to introduce art to students as a rich language experience.

When time for the first training session began to creep upon teachers, Bussey feared that the turn-out would be slim. Astonished, she had 32 educators sign up for the training, which was proof to Bussey that teachers in Lindsay desire to include visual art as apart of their curriculum, which in turn, will help students.

Beth Olansky, the developer of Picture Writing stated, &#8220As students become fluent in the dual languages of pictures and words, they are able to approach writing from a position of strength according to their individual learning style.”

From 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sept. 23, Lindsay Unified School District and Bussey will continue the ongoing training in Picture Writing, with a direct focus on a new unit known as The Ocean. The training will take place in the cafeteria of the Lincoln Elementary School in Lindsay and attending the training will be representatives from the U.S. Office of Innovation and Improvement as well as Carole Sue Frombolutti, the Chief Executive of the Professional Development Grant in the Arts, with colleague, Adirenne Dukes of Washington, D.C.

On Sept. 27, artist, Susan Ardesh will visit Lindsay's educators and help to bring teachers within contact of art. Bussey is also working hard to incorporate sculpture into the program and has recruited Dorit Leveinstein, an artist from Israel to attend the Feburary, 2007 Sculpture Garden training that Bussey will hold.

In addition to training teachers and students in the area of visual arts, Bussey has also found a local computer technician and video editor to film the training sessions and art shows that she has arranged. Jason Rallis of Exeter will compile and edit a video full of memories for parents and Lindsay educators, which will be used for future visual art references. &#8220Although we are doing some exploring and learning about different stages of art, Picture Writing is our major thrust” stated Bussey, who is collaborating with the city of Lindsay to hold an art week.

&#8220Our teachers are thrilled with the program,” said Bussey.

The goal is to train teachers to use visual arts in math and English classes. Although a student's art may not look perfect, the Picture Writing is also about the development of descriptive words that will contribute to success. &#8220It's not about the product, but the process.”

Bussey hopes that community members will stay tuned to Lindsay's art program as it is much like a flower, evolving from bud to blossom, showing its growth potential.

For more information on th program, contact instructor Michelle Bussey at [email protected].

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