My name is Symone Simmons. I’m a junior in the Art Education Department at VCU and I would like to welcome you to the Service-Learning Blog! The purpose of this blog is to showcase the enthusiasm and hard work of VCU’s Art Education students during two service-learning classes in the Art Education department: ARTE 310 Foundations of Art Education and ARTE 402 Art Education Secondary Materials and Practicum. In both of these courses, students volunteer in Richmond Public Schools, helping to support the arts and develop positive thoughts and actions in young people.
In the foundations course , ARTE 310, the department partners with the Carver Promise mentoring program at George W. Carver Elementary School The Carver Promise. Students work one on one with an elementary school student at Carver and mentor them by playing games, assisting them with school work, and doing fun art activities. The students at Carver love having an older buddy they can talk to and do fun activities with for an hour every week, and the VCU students gain valuable experience working with young people and practicing art lessons in a non-threatening and relaxed environment.
In ARTE 402, the Secondary Practicum class, students are further along in the Art Education program and most will student teach the following semester. These students are welcomed into the Binford Middle school art classroom to teach a week long unit centered on a chosen big idea. This year’s theme and big idea was “transformation.” One student’s unit was about transforming your school; students at Binford beautified their environment by painting stairwells and stenciling intricate designs around the school. The service aspect of the course is developed to get these middle school students thinking about service projects themselves and how they can help others and their environment through their art. This intensive service-learning class prepares VCU students for teaching by helping them to create and refine engaging, thought-provoking art lessons over a sustained period of time in a middle school environment. You can check out more lessons and activities at the Binford Art Blog http://binfordartlab.wordpress.com/
This blog is going to be full of thoughtful experiences from Art Ed students, community partners, and students from our partner elementary and middle schools. Check back soon for new updates and interviews!