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Antietam Elementary School Boasts Artist in Residence Program

Art projects enhance learning experience for Antietam students.

Throughout the school  year, students at Antietam Elementary have participated in an artists in residence program with artists from the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton.

Each age group had a different experience during the year. Kindergarteners and first graders used recyclable materials to create their own superheroes to save the earth. This was done in conjunction with the beginning of Earth Week and gave kids an opportunity to stretch themselves creatively.

Second and third graders created sketchbooks out of recyclable materials. They prepped recyclable paper, such as cereal boxes for the covers and newsprint for the pages, by coating them with white tempera paint. Then they tied pages together between the covers to make the sketchbooks. Inside the pages of the book they were to tell the story of how they could assist their Eco-Superheroes in the fight to save the Earth. This tied into the curriculum objective of developing their writing skills, said Caren Hearne, of the Workhouse Art Center.

Fourth graders enjoyed a workshop with talented Pennsylvania musicians, Simple Gifts. This trio, plays traditional folk music on 12 different instruments. They played music from the colonial time period studied by the fourth grade. They also were able to share stories about the lifestyles of the people in that period in history. This experience enriched the children's understanding of colonial history.

Fifth graders used their creative writing skills to develop the script of a movie about overcoming obstacles. They worked in groups to write their stories and storyboard them to map out visually how they would become movies. They spent four days at the Workhouse Art Center turning their stories into stop-action animation videos. They learned to use new software, and they learned to calculate how many seconds of film was needed to get the result they wanted. All this was done before they actually began making the movie. After four days, the movies were done.

Caren Hearne, who is in charge of youth programs for the Workhouse Art Center talked about the value of these programs. Hearne said they provide an opportunity for children to receive the training in arts that they need to "preserve the artistic thought process. Anyone who invents and creates must have that process nurtured. It is not enough to learn basic academics, but the creative aspect forces you to think past what is in front of you and at alternate levels."

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