Parent Volunteers in Action 2005-07

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There is so much that a volunteer can do for the arts in their schools. Before doing anything though, volunteers must check with the principal of the school, and the teacher with whom they will be working. Most teachers would be more than happy to have a volunteer present a lesson to the children in any of the arts areas. This information is designed to demonstrate which expectations the children will be covering and the assessment model that is being advocated. The following list of examples is no way exhaustive; however it does provide the volunteers with an idea of how they can be helpful to a teacher in the classroom.

Visual Arts



Thank you so much for giving up your time to join us today.  You are valued and appreciated in our schools.  Please do not hesitate to contact any of our staff for more ideas that work with children.  Have a wonderful year.


Visual Art Guidelines

Art is a combination of many skills and ideas.  One of the most important skills is thinking about what you see.  Thinking and seeing as an artist means you use your power of observation and imagination.

Allow children the experience of process.  Everything you draw is not art!  Think of doing a rough copy as you would for the writing process.

To observe and then to slowly draw what you see requires the development of that skill.  It requires training and practice – the same as any other skill – like hockey, basketball or dancing.

If children are finished an assignment in another subject area – get them to take out a pencil and a piece of paper and practice drawing.

Have actual objects for the children to draw.  They can draw a shoe, a book, a desk, the tree outside the window, or the head of the person in front of them.  Drawing from the imagination, when you want realistic representation, is defeating and failure is assured.  Drawing from the real world produces better results.  Think of great artists – they all had live models and still life to draw!!!

Practice, Practice, Practice.  Drawing is a skill that needs constant work in order to get better at it.

Help students make a viewfinder to "frame" what they want to draw.  Take a piece of Bristol board or card stock and cut a "frame" for the students to hold up and look through.  It is hard to focus on one thing in a room or outside.  The "frame" limits the field of vision, and helps the student to focus.

Encourage creativity.  Purple trees are wonderful.  The students know that trees aren't purple – but allowing them to "color outside the lines" increases their creativity.

How do you "SEE"?????

Music Guidelines

In music the Beat is the basic unit of time – you can show the steady beat by snapping, clapping or patting with the music.

In music the Rhythm is the pattern of long and short sounds.

Melodic contour is the pattern of the melody.

Dynamics is the varying degree of volume.

Tempo is the speed of a piece.  Common tempo indications are:  allegro (quickly and lively), moderato (at a moderate speed), andante (somewhat slowly, at a walking pace) and largo (slowly).

Musical involvement may take many forms:

  1. Perform music that someone else has created
  2. Describe music that someone else has performed
  3. Create music that expresses your own musical ideas

Students have a natural emotion towards music.  People from all cultures around the world have used music throughout the ages to inspire, to reflect and to feel the emotions of the human spirit.  It is as natural as breathing, to listen to music.

Essential to the development of respect of other people's values is the development of a set of personal values and the ability to live by those values with self-respect and a strong self-image.  Music can foster a positive self-image and recognition of the worth of others.

Singing is the first and most natural musical response.  Children engage in spontaneous experimentation with their singing voice.  It takes practice to sing in tune and with other children.

Playing instruments requires the child to have many opportunities to:

  1. Hear a variety of instrumental sounds
  2. Make decisions about these sounds
  3. Label and classify them into specific categories
  4. Use them in expressive ways

Foster the enjoyment of music that comes naturally to all children.  Many adults have a memory of someone who told them they couldn't sing and these adults lack the self-confidence to experience music fully.  Always encourage the love of music.

Let the beat go on…!!! Drama Guidelines

In order to grow into well-developed persons, children need to have faith in and to value themselves.  Only when they feel secure in whom they are can they be confidant enough to explore and take risks.

It is important to foster a climate in which children can grow to their maximum potential.  You foster the inherent creative abilities in children when you provide the nurturing environment in which they can feel free to try and fail and take risks and explore or when you encourage the spirit or curiosity of playing with ideas, and of rethinking.

In drama children can discover talents they never had a chance to express before.  You foster creativity by encouraging spontaneity, imaginative thinking, brainstorming for solutions, and providing opportunities of visualizing possibilities.

A reasonable "anything is possible" attitude on your part gives meaning to children's realization that there is always a place for their ideas and their contributions.

Side Coaching is a technique in creative drama in which the teacher or volunteer gives suggestions or comments from the sidelines to heighten and advance as well as control the playing.

Improvisation: Points to remember

  1. Don't ask questions – it brings the action down – Be a Giver not a Taker
  2. Establish the Who, What, Where, When and Why in any scene quickly
  3. Establish a setting where the students are miming an activity
    1. The kitchen means cooking something or cleaning up after dinner
    2. Have the students visualize a setting and keep the action going
  4. If someone gets stuck – ask the other students for suggestions – then give that child their choice of the suggestions to add to the scene
  5. DON'T LET CHILDREN FAIL– or feel that they have failed – come to their rescue.

To be or not to be – take a risk!!!

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