Art classes adapt to virtual model


Image courtesy of Mrs. Bennett

Senior Forrest Havanis made this slab box at home for his Ceramics 1 class.

When Trinity Area School District moved to an all-virtual model at the end of November, students throughout the district had to adapt to yet another new schedule and system of learning. While some classes, especially those easily taught through video, were not difficult to adjust to at home, there is one facet of education that provided some special challenges: art classes. 

Like all classes offered at Trinity High School, art classes are now being taught from home. Art class is a traditionally hands-on learning experience that is practically made for face-to-face instruction. But with the recent switch to online learning district wide, art teachers at the high school had to get creative. 

“We [art teachers] have learned to adapt by creating individual art kits to send home with students so that they have the necessary tools and materials at home. We are also utilizing technology to create videos for art-making demonstrations and tutorials,” art teacher Mr. Merchant commented on the transition to the online model. 

Another challenge the virtual model gave teachers was how to keep students motivated. The home environment provides a variety of new distractions that divert students’ attention away from the task at hand, especially when they might be completing work for an elective class like art.

Ceramics teacher Mrs. Bennett said, “Unfortunately I feel that the quality of the students’ physical projects has been somewhat impacted by being at home. It’s just so hard to learn ceramics without that direct feedback everyday. But I can tell that they are really putting effort in, and I appreciate that…I have a Google Meet at the beginning of class where I review the plans for the day, do some refresher demonstrations, and ask for questions. I think that this gets them into the right mind frame for ceramics and helps to motivate them.”

Regardless of the type of art class or project, both Merchant and Bennett agreed that art can be a way to de-stress. 

Bennett encouraged people to make art using what they have available to them, “ I think that making any kind of art can take your mind off things that are worrying you and help to put you in a more positive space. Your art doesn’t have to be for anyone else to see, or you can share it with the world, it’s your choice. And you don’t need fancy materials, just grab a pencil or pen and start doodling.”