10 Lessons Learned From Arts Bridge

Sunny Leavitt, one of the Arts Bridge Scholars for Visual Arts, shares her experiences on what she has learned from working with Mrs. Shellie Olson’s first grade class. At the end of Sunny’s semester-long project, she concluded her blog writings with a fun description of the ten things she has learned from working with first graders to integrate art into their learning experiences.

We enjoyed reading Sunny’s perspective on her Arts Bridge experience and want to share what we gathered from her post:

“10 Things I’ve Learned as an Arts Bridge Teacher”

1. First graders will believe anything you say. This makes explaining any project more exciting and intriguing to the students.
2. Patience is a virtue as children are genuinely curious and will have lots of questions. Although there are times when it can be frustrating to work with the students, feeding their curiosity in a constructive way is a learning experience for both the teacher and the students.
3. Placing boundaries on each project, but allowing large amounts of creative freedom, helps students see themselves as artists.

4. Each child needs to feel validated and important. Positive feedback is the most effective way to accomplish this, and it should be expressed often.
5. Be firm when necessary to help the child refocus on the task at hand. The ways in which they develop from having those arts experiences will allow them to grow exponentially.
6. Integrating art lessons with the core curriculum allows students to use different parts of their brains, helping them to develop and discover new talents.

7. Again, patience is a virtue!
8. A fun atmosphere is what makes the job enjoyable for the teacher. Nourishing that atmosphere allows the students to trust the teacher and feel safe in whatever activity they are doing.
9. Be flexible when creating lesson plans and don’t worry too much about the small details.  Adaptation is often used in order to meet the needs of the students. There are many times when the material is just not challenging enough, or can be too challenging at that time.
10. Unity is what helps the class stay under control while providing opportunities for the students to develop in the arts. Everyone needs to be on a team. At the end of Sunny’s project, the students were brought together through the arts.

We would like to thank Sunny for her inspiring thoughts and hard work this past semester! To read the original post and more about Sunny’s experiences with first grade, visit her blog at http://artbridgewithshellieolsen.blogspot.com/2014/12/10-things-ive-learned-as-art-bridge.html.

For more information about the Arts Bridge Program, visit our website at http://education.byu.edu/arts/arts_bridge.

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