Students at CCCBSD know art class to be a fun space. Though some students may find art more challenging than others, Sylvia Nolan, CCCBSD’s art teacher, is proud to say that she sees a lot of progress, success, and growth in her students, especially since she has been the consistent art teacher for them for years. When Sylvia became the art teacher three years ago, she says many of the students were not enthusiastic about art, but today she cannot think of a single individual who does not enjoy the class. Many students simply did not like art because of how difficult it can be for them. Through practice, help from teachers, and accessibility tools, every student can learn to love some aspect of art.
Art class is an opportunity to work on fine motor and communication skills. Sylvia says she does everything she can to make her classes fun and accessible for all students. Often, this involves lots of prep work. She decides what skills she wants the unit to entail, and designs the materials and instructions accordingly. For example, if the goal of the project is to have students practice making choices, Sylvia will pre-cut materials so students are not overwhelmed and can focus on more important objectives. Sylvia also anticipates the needs of every single student in order to assure each class runs as smoothly as possible.
Though many students at CCCBSD have mobility and fine motor challenges, Sylvia has accumulated numerous tools to make art as accessible for everyone as possible. One piece of equipment that has made a huge difference in her classroom is switch-operated scissors. This tool allows students who may struggle with traditional scissors to cut more evenly. These scissors have opened up some student’s eyes to how fun art can be, and motivated them to try new things.
The art room is a comfortable and creative space. Students work hard in class, but also find that expressing themselves through art is exciting. With so many fun choices available, like play doh or the bean table, it is hard not to have a great time in art class.