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Art teachers were STEAM-ing before STEAM was cool!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Integrated Arts: Postcard Activity

The undergrad teaching students I work with at Plymouth State University had a week-long practicum experience in elementary and middle school a few weeks ago. When they came back, their professor advised me that they'd be bursting with anecdotes and stories about their week. Their professor had a field trip with another class their first day back, so I substituted for her. Of course, because I'm an art teacher, I had to put a twist on the lesson!

When I am presenting any sort of lesson to the future K-8 teachers, I try to have them learn using a lesson they could adapt in their own classrooms later on. This is a perfect example! This lesson allowed them to share with their professor the following:
  • One success
  • One thing they learned
  • One thing they need to work on
This allowed them to analyze, summarize, and "tell" their professor about their experience. A part of this was also learning about the parts of a postcard--such as address, stamp, greeting, closing, and signature--a skill they all knew, but something that is valuable for younger students to learn. They used the free postcard generator on www.ReadWriteThink.org--a wonderful website I wanted them to be aware of.

Then, they needed to "show" their practicum experience. They could bring photos printed in color, or they could use the lab to search and print photos. I suggested the following images:
  • Photos of the school they were at (they could take the photos themselves or pull them from the school's website)
  • Photos of any projects they did
We only had a black and white printer in the lab, so I showed them how they could colorize the b&w photos using colored pencils. They needed to mount the finished front and back of their postcards onto a 9x12" piece of construction paper and then they were allowed to embellish their pieces. I had brought colored pencils, stickers, scrapbook page borders, and colored pieces of paper along with fancy-edged scissors.

The results are colorful and fun and it was nice to chat with the students about their experiences in the classrooms. Like the proud art teacher, I posted them all over the door and tiny bulletin boards I have on either side at the college.

Before we left, I had the students brainstorm ways they could use a lesson like this in their own classrooms and they had a ton of great ideas such as writing a friend about a math or science concept, writing a postcard from the point of view of a character in a book they've read, or even writing to a penpal in another class (or state or country)! Such great ideas!

So many great projects, but here are a few...ENJOY!






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