Yesterday - by Elissa
I spent the last two days teaching bookbinding at the Springfield High School Arts Academy in Springfield, Vermont. Over the course of those days, I taught a total of 123 students in eight classes.
This was my fourth year teaching at this school and I had a great time. As I’ve mentioned before (here and here), the Springfield Arts Academy is based on the premise that integrating the arts into all subjects helps to reinforce concepts that students are learning. The classes I visited included German, American Studies, and Supernatural Literature (who wouldn’t want to take that class?).
I love the fact that the arts are integrated into so many different subject areas. The timing of my residency was perfect – it came on the heels of a training I recently took through the Vermont Arts Council and Saint Michaels College (among other organizations). We learned about integrated arts learning through readings and observation of classes at the Integrated Arts Academy in Burlington, Vermont.
If you’d like to learn more about arts integration, visit the Kennedy Center’s ArtsEdge website – it’s a wonderful resource.
I taught three different book structures – the flag book, woven flexagon, and star book. Each class had a different structure, so I was constantly on my toes with the directions.
As in years past, I had 100% participation in all of the classes and the students worked really hard. It still amazes me how engaged students get in the process of creating. All of the students were friendly and welcoming to me.
I am amused by the inevitable snickers that come from my talking about the bone folder. Heh, heh…bone. They are teenagers, after all.
Sadly, I didn’t have an assistant this year. This meant that I had a run around a lot more and my feet were on fire by the end of the day (totally worth it). Luckily, I had students to escort me from class to class. There are so many elevators in weird places in that school and I never know where I’m going.
All of the classes were working on the theme of icons and it was approached in different ways. Some classes were focused on cultural icons, while others worked with those in popular culture. The work will culminate in the school’s Annual Arts Festival, where all the books will be on display.