Great (artsy) things are happening at School on Wheels!
For the last couple of years, tutoring has been focused mostly on academics – we’ve always wanted to make sure students are proficient in math and language arts, since those are the two subjects that kids in grades 3-8 are tested on for ISTEP (Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress). To reach this goal, we have created a ton of curriculum around these two primary subjects, including our Tutor Toolkits and ISTEP practice cards.
In addition to being good at math and language arts, however, we have always encouraged our students to be creative. Art has always played a large role in our summer programming, including the SEAT (Summer Enrichment, Arts, and Technology) program this last summer and the Know My Story program with Bunky Echohawk the summer before. We have always encouraged our students to participate in art during the summer and after finishing homework during tutoring because the arts play an important role in cognitive development, school success, and effective learning:
- Student involvement in the arts is linked to higher academic performance, increased standardized test scores and lower dropout rates
- Arts education makes a great impact on the developmental growth of children and helps level the “learning field” across socio-economic boundaries
- Young artists perform community service more than four times as often as compared to their peers
- Arts education teaches students important lifelong skills, including creativity, confidence, problem solving, perseverance, focus, and accountability
With all of this knowledge of the importance of arts education for academic and social success (and two program team members with an arts background), we knew we had to find a way to include art in tutoring in a more formal way.
That day is here!
Kris, our Program Assistant, has been hard at work creating new Creativity Kits that will be used during the tutoring hour. Similar to the Tutor Toolkits, the Creativity Kit is a portable container with various cards with activities to complete; all of the materials needed to complete the activities are contained in the kit itself.
For now, there are eight activity cards, each of which includes brief information about an artist and an activity (with directions and an example picture!) that relates to their style of art. Each month, a new card will be added. Students will be able to create clay figures that show movement, upside down drawings, and even learn about the printmaking process through an Andy Warhol iPad app, all while learning fine motor skills, math concepts, and different styles of art! So far, our students have loved the activities and the tutors have loved participating as well. Check out some of our students’ work: