MMS offers interactive Co-Operative Art class
By Bailey Cichon
MARSHFIELD — Art class is where students get to express themselves and use their imagination without limitations. Marshfield Middle School (MMS) added a new art class to its course catalog this year: Co-Operative Art.
“The class is one of the innovative programs started this year. It is a combined class of seventh- and eighth-grade students. These students are the ones who have physical, emotional, and learning challenges,” explained class instructor Eric Nelson.
The class creates projects based off of different books the students read.
“Students use a read stick to point at the words projected with a document camera. The student reads the story of others, or others read as the stick follows the words on the paper,” said Nelson.
Currently, the class is creating a large poster of the fish mural created in “Sky Color” by Peter H. Reynolds. The students recently finished a group project where they created a poster based on “Starry Night” by Van Gogh. Instead of painting the skyline exactly as Van Gogh did, the students painted the skyline of Marshfield. They included landmarks such as City Hall, the Round Barn, and MMS.
The interactive Co-Operative Art involves much class participation.
“Students have jobs to hand out supplies and collect them. Cleaning and other tasks are also part of the coursework to instill the understanding of what roles they may select in society after schooling is complete,” Nelson said.
Before class begins, students and their teaching aids go around and greet each other.
“Another key element of the class is the use of motion and patterns. The students all work with stretching and visualization. Calming breathing is also used in class to help with the transitions between things. (Two of the visualizations used in the class are,) ‘Breathe in the good, and expel the bad.’ (Just like a tree,) we are flexible when there is difficulty. We bend but do not break,” said Nelson.
During the “Starry Night” project, students studied every element of the painting. To understand the movement of the brush strokes, Nelson laid out a large pastiche of “Starry Night.” The class went up to the balcony inside MMS and pointed out key points of the painting: the stars, the mountain, and the buildings. The students then went downstairs and formed a conga line. They walked around on the swirls to get a feel for the movement. Lastly, students got to lie down on the poster to find the scale of the mountain and the buildings.
Work created by the Co-Operative Art class is displayed by the main office in MMS as well as outside of Nelson’s classroom. Nelson added, “It really shows that we take care of everyone here (at MMS).”