Value Art — Live Substance Free


The Art of Choices is a program that I developed with the South Shore Arts Center in Munster Indiana. They first asked me to create an anti-drug program and I suggested that look at the concern, from a holistic view. We purchased a program called Life Skills by Dr. Botvin.  It is a program that deals with the whole person. The program covers subjects like self-image, coping with anxiety along with saying no to drugs and knowledge about alcohol, just to name a few.  I took the life skills program and developed arts lessons for every unit. There are 15 classes in all.  Each class will have a life skills session and an art lesson.  I developed the art part of each lesson to work  seamlessly with each unit.

The first unit is self-image and the project that we’re creating is a scratch-board.  The idea is that the kids are going to make a list of how they describe themselves, as they see themselves as well as a list of how they want to be described in the future. They will then color on a piece of paper all the words that describe them self today.  Making sure the paper is covered in crayon. We will then we will take black ink and paint over all the words, so that the paper is completely covered. Once the paper is dry, the kids will be given the instruction to scratch in the words that I describe how they want to described  in the future.  The colors from the past words will reveal them self through the scratches of the new words. The project is a literal interpretation of the clean slate.

The next unit is coping with anxiety this is going to be a two day class.  We are going to have a yoga teacher that will teach yoga and meditation and on the second day we will have a class on journaling and will create friendship bracelets. The journal is going to be used throughout the class.  They will learn different techniques to journaling and how it can help with anxiety along with other life skills issues.  The friendship bracelet is a compromise, because I really wanted to teach something like knitting. Knitting is a much more complex  and could not be accomplish in the time we are allotted. I decided that friendship bracelets would still allow the kids to understand how to reduce anxiety by doing a task that is meditative.

Unit three we are going to be covering communication skills.  The kids are going to write about and miscommunication that they have had experience with. Units six and seven are lessons on alcohol or drugs.  I designed as sensory deprivation project to teach the kids how when you do these things you are taking away your ability to use all your senses in essence handicapping yourself. I’m teaching the kids how to make clay animals, But each time they’re going to be deprived of a sensory.  First they will wear rubber gloves, the second time they will wear rubber gloves and hearing plugs and the third time they’ll have rubber gloves, hearing plugs, and drunk goggles.  After the kids experience trying to create the clay animals without their senses, they will be able to take them off and create a clay animal. The last time they will be able feel, hear and see what they’re doing.

In unit eight we are going to be covering how advertising and how it affects some of our decisions.  The kids are going to create sock puppets. Each kid will then have to make their own advertisement using the sock puppet to sell the class a fake product.  Each ad will be videoed.  Throughout the 15 classes the kids will be videotaped and recorded, the media will then incorporated into a last presentation that all the six and seventh and eighth graders will watch during a school assembly.

In some of the other topics covered like smoking, violence, and coping with anger they will create posters using symbols.  All the artwork developed during the classes will be incorporated in a public art project for the school, and a book that all sixth, seventh and eighth grader will receive. I will write again to describe the public art and the book.




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