What is Art in Action?
Art in Action is Clifford School’s art program for 1st Grade through 8th Grade, funded by the PTO. It is a discipline-based and sequential art curriculum designed around the works of the great masters. It is completely dependent on parent volunteers.
To assist in class, no art experience is necessary whatsoever! Nor do you need to complete any training, although it is recommended that you attend a 3-hour class if you can. For details on how to get involved, scroll down to “How do I sign up to Volunteer?”
For each lesson, we need one docent and two to three helpers. The docent is the volunteer who leads the initial discussion about a piece of art––a famous painting, a yarn project, a clay piece, and so on––and then the docent guides the kids through creating their own artwork, step by step. Some parents double up and share the docent role.
Art in Action publishes a series of books, grade by grade. They provide detailed, recipe-style directions for guiding successful discussions and projects, while still allowing the flexibility to ensure that each project will complement any classroom environment. The PTO has purchased these books for each grade level, and they are available to borrow from the Art in Action storage area.
The online tools, in addition, are terrific. You’ll find step-by-step guidance through video tutorials, discussion points, other lesson-planning resources, and more.
You need to create an an Art in Action account, first, before you can access the videos, lesson plans, along with all the other helpful tools.
We are so fortunate at Clifford School to have this program available to our children; however, we could not do it without the support of you, the parents.
As mentioned above, volunteers are needed in different roles:
- Docent: Teach AiA lessons to students. Coordinate lesson schedule with the classroom teacher. Attend fall training workshop.
- Assistant: Arrive before the lesson to help set out art supplies. Assist with clean-up of supplies and storage of art project.
The time commitment involved is roughly an hour or more for the art class (depending on the complexity of the project), and your own prep time. You are responsible for coordinating with individual teachers to set a date and time.
How Do I Sign Up To Volunteer?
We are so glad you asked! This is such a fun way to get involved in your child’s class. Without parent volunteers, our Art in Action program would not be a success.
If your children are in 1st Grade through 5th grade, contact our Art in Action Clifford School Coordinator: Jennifer Fernandez can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org. The lessons typically happen in Room 10 or your child’s classroom–whatever your kid’s teacher prefers.
Is There Training for Parent Volunteers?
Optional training sessions, provided by Art in Action trainers, are usually offered at the beginning of each year for docents (usually in their Menlo Park office). Signing up early via the Art in Action web site is very important. Look for schedules in late spring for the next school year. The purpose of these special trainings are to inform classroom docents (and helpers) about Art in Action. And in a hands-on fashion, the presenters go through specifics on the curriculum for teaching at each grade level. If you are interested or want more information, please contact our AIA School Coordinator today!
Clifford Art On Display
Check out the posting Now Showing: Clifford’s Art in Action Around Town for details about where you can see our students’ beautiful paintings and drawings in public venues locally! (Click here, too, for photos of our students’ artwork in Peet’s.) Your kids’ artwork is regularly on display in the classroom, and expect a big art show towards the end of the school year in the MUB.