What is Art in Action?
Art in Action is our school’s art program, which is dependent on parent volunteers to provide art in Clifford classrooms, from 1st Grade through 8th Grade. It is a discipline-based, sequential art curriculum designed around the works of the great masters. Parents are also needed to help in Middle School’s art classes. To assist in class, from 1st Grade through 8th Grade, no art experience is necessary whatsoever! Nor do you need to complete any training, although it is recommended, if you have time to attend a 3-hour class. (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 guides the kids through creating their own artwork, step by step. Some parents double up and share the docent role.
The Art in Action program is aligned with California and National Visual Arts Standards and integrated with other elements of our core curriculum. The Art in Action curriculum is fun to learn and easy to teach, even for parents who believe they don’t have an artistic streak! The curriculum at Clifford typically comprises 108 lessons, 12 each year from 1st grade through fifth grade.
The Art in Action books provide detailed, recipe-style directions for guiding successful discussions and projects, while still allowing the flexibility to ensure that the Art in Action program will complement any classroom environment. 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 these 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 2 to 4 hours a month, during the school day. 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 email@example.com. The lessons usually happen in Room 12.
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 (typically 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! The kids’ artwork regularly appears in class, and expect a big art show towards the end of the year in the MUB.