Ross School - Senior Project 2006-07
Mentor: Chris Engel
Title: Buddies Through Art
My project consisted of pairing up five 8th graders with five 4th graders so together they could overcome their fears. The students worked on various art projects that allowed them to open up to their buddy. I learned various techniques to teach art and help the students overcome their fears. When the 4th graders become 5th graders and come to the upper campus, the new 9th graders will be a friendly face for them and they will feel more comfortable in a new environment.
Meeting 1 Meeting 2
Choosing the right Senior Project was a hard obstacle to overcome. In the beginning of my process I wanted to have a mentoring program without art therapy but I felt that this program would not have a strong enough connection on it’s own, so my mentor and I came up with the idea of incorporating a mentor program and art therapy to strengthen the connection I wanted to make between 8th graders and 4th graders.
My actual product consisted of a compilation of my lesson plans and a five-page reflection that explained each of my lessons and the complications that were encountered. I also complied a book of a selection of students’ art from each art project. My goals for this project were to learn about art therapy and how it differs from regular therapy, how to create and follow through with a proper lesson plan, create a bond between grades and of course help the students overcome or deal with their fears. These goals were met through out my project but not with ease. I encountered many obstacles with my project because it involved so many people and arranging time to meet around everyone else’s schedules. Creating a bond between the students was the easiest goal to meet because there was a connection immediately. During the first meeting I could see everyone opening up to his or her buddy, even in simple situations. Once I learned how to create a lesson plan it was a great way to organize my thoughts for each lesson. I could weed out the things I didn’t want to do and focus more on what I wanted to do and what I thought was best. I read four books and looked at several websites devoted to teaching art therapy. Also meeting with my mentor who is a licensed art therapist was a big help.
I learned that while talking complements art therapy it is a raw version of true emotions. It is most successful in children because they can express themselves easier through images than words. I feel that culturally we have grown to accept therapy as a way of expression. 40 or 50 years ago people were thought to be clinically insane if they saw a therapist of any kind, but today it is embraced. I wanted my project to show kids that expressing yourself is okay. I want them to know that if you bottle up your feelings, you’ll end up getting angry, and a lot more irritable than if you express your emotions immediately. Also I feel this is a healthy way of expressing yourself, instead of taking anti-depressants or other medication.
Bibliography or Works Cited
Gardner, Howard. Artful Scribbles; The Significance of Children’s Drawings. New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1980.
Kramer, Edith. Art as Therapy with Children. New York: Schocken Books Inc., 1971
Naumburg, Margaret. An Introduction to Art Therapy. New York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University, 1973.
Rubin, Judith Aron. Child Art Therapy; Understanding and Helping Children Grow Through Art. New York: Litton Educational Publishing, 1978.
These books were very resourceful. I gathered most of my information from them. These books taught me various meanings to certain common images. The books also taught me how to work with children without being authoritative or intimidating in anyway. They taught me to always be supportive and positive about any work because children’s self-esteem can be damaged easily causing them to clam up.
American Art Therapy Association. “Frequently Asked Questions About Art
Therapy.” 2006.Viewed Oct. 2006.
aafaq.html>. I used this website when I was looking for information about being an art therapist. It gave me insight into what art therapist go through to get their degree.
Cook, Kathy. “A World of Myths.” 1999. Viewed Oct. 2006. <http://www.artsedge.kennedy-center.org/content/2226/>. I used this website to base my lesson plans off of.
NC State University. “Recognizing Stress in Children; Helping Children
Cope with a Disaster.” May 2006. Viewed Oct. 2006. <http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/
depts/fcs/human/disas1.html>. This website helped me in differentiating stressed caused by everyday life and stressed caused by a trauma. It is sometimes difficult to tell whether a habit is formed from a trauma or is normal for that age group.
Nemours Foundation. “Anxiety, Fears, and Phobias.” Nov. 2004. Viewed Sept. 2006. <http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/anxiety.html>. I used this site when I was first starting out my project to help me understand where fears come from and common phobias among children.
Rosenberg, Sondra. “Naumburg and Kramer: Two Art Therapy Pioneers”. 2003. Viewed Nov. 2006. <http://www.sondraslair.com/ediemarge.html>.
Texas Children’s Hospital. “Artful Tips for Healing.” 2006. Viewed Oct. 2006. <http://www.texaschildrenshospital.org/parents/tipsarticles/articledisplay.aspx?aid=802>. I used a quote from this article to help me articulate what I wanted to do with my project. “The ancients accepted the link between mind and body as fact. With the advent of modern medicine, that link was ignored for a number of years, but today, feelings are acknowledged again as integral to the healing process.”
Warner, Mark. “Art: General Ideas.” 2006. Viewed Sept. 2006. <http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/art/contents.htm>. This website gave me several ideas for various art projects I could do with the students during my lessons.
Community Member (Details)
My community member is a local art therapist, Susan Burns. The first interaction I had with her was over the phone. We talked about my project and how it came about. She then gave me advice on how to help children open up and create a safe environment. I asked her what to do when a child clams up and mock the project at hand. She told me to customize the project to something they are interested in. This was useful when one of the students decided he wasn’t afraid of anything, so I told him to write down everything he wanted to do before he died. He got really into the project and ended up creating an amazing piece.
After finally trying scheduling a time to meet, we got together to look at everyone’s art and discuss what we thought of each piece. It was really interesting to see our different interpretations. For instance in one of the self-portraits, she described it as a dark piece but I saw the exact opposite. I thought it was very optimistic.
I invited her to both the gallery opening and my presentation but because she is so busy it was really difficult to meet again.