Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 5

Champion Creatively Alive Children

Visualize Our Roles
in Humanity
Author Maya Angelou often told
her students that reflective journals
challenge us to be our greatest self
and unafraid to shine. Children step
outside of today's constraints and rise
above barriers when they reimagine
themselves and the impact they can
have on others. Mankind has always
used portraits, masks, and other visual
metaphors to inform sense of self and
show others who we want them to see.
The role of art in expressing
personal identity has been a focus
of Vansville Elementary School in
Beltsville, Maryland. Art teacher
Virginia Bute-Riley and music teacher
James Dorsey lead their school's
creative leadership team. They have
used music and artist identity books
to focus students on questions of
"Who am I? Where do I belong?
What influences and represents me?"
Students merge art and writing to
juxtapose multiple contexts, exploring
personal identity in powerful ways.
Bute-Riley outlined the way artist
identity books are used across grade
levels:
n

n

Young students begin with realistic
self-portraits, informed by mirrors.
They move to family portraits
that use shapes to communicate
relationships. By de-emphasizing
details and using inference
techniques, children consider
"what others could infer about me
and the interpersonal relationships
portrayed in my art."
Students learn about artists'
intentions and how art conveys
meaning. Choice of colors, space,
shape, and patterns communicate.
Looking at art created in other eras
helps students imagine "what if"
they lived then and there-making
a personal connection to history.
There is an epiphany or "aha"
moment when students interpret
historic paintings and the life
challenges depicted. This helps
students build empathy and see
themselves with a different lens.

www.naesp.org

n

Older students study masks
from the Smithsonian collection.
They relate ancient masks to
contemporary issues of "What do
I present to others versus what isn't
revealed, but lies within?"

Strong collaboration, led by the
creative leadership team, closely links
social studies to their art-integration
identity narrative projects. Moving
from literal, realistic portraits to
symbolic and abstract helps students
move to broader views of self. Vansville
Elementary's principal, Tom Smith,
credits Bute-Riley and Dorsey as
helping students explore the many
layers of personal identity.

Self-image is interwoven with
what others think of us. It is rooted
in traditions that children learn
about themselves and others.
Visual explorations of self can build
confidence and compassion. Identity
is an ever-evolving narrative that can
be shaped and reshaped by asking
probing questions and looking beyond
the current landscape. Art enables
students to see parts of themselves and
others that they never saw before-
providing them with wings and new
personal flight paths.
Cheri Sterman is the director
of education at Crayola.

Vansville Elementary School,
Beltsville, Maryland

Coronita Elementary School,
Corona, California

Vansville Elementary School,
Beltsville, Maryland

Principal Special Supplement n September/October 2016

5


http://www.naesp.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016

Contents
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - Cover1
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - Cover2
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - Contents
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 2
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 3
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 4
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 5
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 6
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 7
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 8
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 9
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 10
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 11
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 12
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 13
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 14
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 15
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 16
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 17
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 18
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 19
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 20
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 21
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Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 23
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 24
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - Cover3
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - Cover4
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