In this interview you will get to know Renee Goularte. You can find all her resources and follow her in all the right social places by finding her links by clicking here.
How do you find inspiration or ideas for creating or designing art resources or art projects?
My inspirations for art lessons are a combination of well-known (and less well-known) art works plus the natural world, and how those relate to the elements of art.
What areas of teaching art would you like to get better at?
I am retired now, but I wish I had done more exploratory lessons with my students.
Do you have any particular things that you add into your curriculum that you feel are important for your students to learn, but aren’t necessarily in the standards?
As a teacher, I always wanted my students to take charge of their own learning for at least part of the time, and to delve into inquiries of their own choice. Sometimes those meshed with standards, and sometimes they did not. But to me, the learning process itself has always been more important than the subject matter, so I generally focused on that process.
What is one “Big Idea” that is important you want your kids to explore?
I would have to say that I liked for my students to make connections to the world, so making connections would be that “big idea” whether in art-making or art appreciation.
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What advice would you give to a first year teacher?
Give yourself a break. Don’t try to do everything all at once. Get the basic structure in place and then focus on one thing at a time while understanding that nothing is perfect and that kids are a variable you cannot control. And don’t spend a ton of money decorating your classroom; use anchor charts and reference material and kid work on the walls.
How do your resources allow for critical thinking among students?
My art lessons all begin with an art observation or related read-aloud and discussion to set the stage, and they all conclude with sharing/observing each others’ work plus discussion. The art-making itself, which I freely admit usually has an end product in mind, generally requires students to make choices about size, relationships of elements, sometimes materials, etc., with a focus on process and technique that students can hopefully bring forward to other venues. Discussions about art works often focus on what students actually see before talking about what they think about it (fact versus opinion) and the same is true of discussion of student work. All my art lessons include a writing component of some kind that is art-related, to further students in thinking about and comparing art and making further connections. I hope that my art lesson process helps students to understand that there are many “right answer” in life.
How do you fuel your own creativity?
I participate in a watercolor group at the local Fine Arts Center. This is my main avenue for continuing my own creative process.
What has your own creative path looked like?
As a child I loved to draw, and managed to take all the art classes possible in high school and still qualify for college. I majored in Art at San Jose State University, eventually focusing on ceramics but with a particular love for watercolor painting. Later, as an elementary school teacher in the primary grades, I was known for doing things differently than most other teachers. My teaching path has always been part of my creative path because it has been the main path I have traveled as an adult. I expected and encouraged my students to be individuals while functioning appropriately within the structure of school. I am a sort of rule-follower who also breaks the rules and appreciated when my students did the same. Eventually I taught art exclusively in grades K, 1, and 2, which is how I closed my teaching career. After that, I began to really “get back to” my own art-making.
Do you create art in your own time? What do you create? What is/are your favorite medium(s)?
After retirement, I have delved more deeply into my own art-making process, always with an eye on looking at the world my own way. I have work space in my home, but I actually do more creating when I paint with a group. My preferred medium is watercolor, mostly landscapes and abstracts. I have a tendency to do things in a series because often when I am in the middle of one thing I get an idea I want to try and that sparks another version of the same basic idea.
Where do you get ideas for making your own art?
I come from farm stock. I love the land, and the land is my main inspiration … the patterns, the lines, the sweep and depth of spaces, the details within those spaces, and, of course, the sky.
How do you help students find ideas for creating artworks?
One thing I liked to do as an art teacher was take the time to teach kids how to look at things, whether it was famous art works or the natural world or even specific items. For example I would have them closely observe the shapes and lines on leaves and the details of flowers before drawing flowers or having them trace in the air the outlines of vases and other objects before doing still life drawings. Or have them look at the relationships of lines to each other, or shapes within space. To me, it’s really all about seeing and bringing what you see to art work.
Helpful Art Resources for Teachers
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Kathleen McGiveron (Ms Artastic)
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