Posts Tagged 'students'



Teacher Resources: Full STEAM Ahead!

We’ve all heard about the  importance of STEM–science, technology, engineering, and math–to our education system in a technology-focused world, but what about the creative thinking that goes hand-in-hand with these subjects? With this in mind, the Rhode Island School of Design began a push to include art, transforming STEM to STEAM. As an educator, you can find many great STEAM resources here at the Dallas Museum of Art!

For several years, DMA Education Staff and our group of STEAM Docents have been working together to develop and test STEAM tours and activities for multiple three-hour long visits by eighth grade students from Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School. Themes for their visits include Art and Innovation, Design, Engineering, Conservation, and Nature and Art.

"Easy Edges" chair

Frank O. Gehry, “Easy Edges” chair, 1971, Dallas Museum of Art, 20th-Century Design Fund

The objective of their time at the Museum is to emphasize the connections between art, science, technology, engineering and math, especially in how artists and scientists invoke similar practices and ideas. One of their visits explores the innovative design of Frank Gehry’s “Easy Edges” chair. Students learned how Gehry layered corrugated cardboard to a two inch thickness to create an object that is aesthetically pleasing while still maintaining the ability to support considerable weight.

Rangel students creating a cardboard chair that can hold the weight of a doll inspired by Frank Gehry's Easy Edges chair. The catch? No glue or tape!

Rangel students creating a cardboard chair that can hold the weight of a doll, inspired by Frank Gehry’s “Easy Edges” chair. The catch? No glue or tape!

Two of our amazing STEAM docents, Susan Behrendt and Susan Fisk, asked their Rangel students the following question to see what they had learned about STEAM:

How does ART relate to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)? How do they relate to you?

Art relates to STEM because as you think and make the art you have to think about all of the things in STEM. Carefully analyzing the piece and including those things make it more eye catching. They relate to me because the art makes a study. – Genesis, May 2014

Art relates to STEM because we use it everywhere and it’s used to describe some of the events in history. Because of art we know far past back in history. We have to know all of these subjects for a good education. – Gallea, May 2014

Art is in everything. An example is geometry. Geometry incorporates art, science, and math. Another example is architecture. Architecture uses art, math, and engineering. It relates to me because I want to be an architect. – Isabella, May 2014

This spring, we lead our first STEAM in-service training for 170 art teachers from Fort Worth ISD, and released a comprehensive STEAM guide to our docent team. You can schedule a docent-guided tour or a teacher in-service yourself, and come explore the many connections between art and STEM here at the Museum!

Lindsay O’Connor
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

DART to Discovery!

The DMA is so happy to continue our partnership with DART for this year’s DART Student Art Contest. Students in Kindergarten through 12th grade are invited to submit an 11×17 poster with their most creative vision of this year’s theme, DART to Discovery. Visit DART’s website for complete rules and details.

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The contest deadline is Leap Day, February 29, and we’ll host the winners for a reception at the Museum in April. So encourage those little creative minds to get to work–we can’t wait to see their posters!

Sarah Coffey
Education Coordinator

Finding the Art in So SMAART

Head of Community Engagement Maria Teresa Garcia-Pedroche and I spent a Saturday afternoon with the So SMAART girls, a group of motivated young ladies aged 9-12 who are “Set on Science, Math, Aviation, Art, Reading, and Technology.” Since its beginning in 2000, the So SMAART program has impacted more than 900 girls from Dallas public schools through various mentorship and after-school activities, all of which prepare the students for careers in STEAM fields including science, math, and the arts. Serving as the girls’ mentors are members of the Trinity Chapter of the Links, Incorporated, a volunteer service organization led by women of color from the DFW area who founded So SMAART to address the lack of minority female students pursuing STEAM careers.

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Trinity Links and the DMA’s Community Engagement team

Throughout their visit, the So SMAART girls and their mentors explored the Center for Creative Connections, toured the African and Ancient American galleries, and created their own masterpieces in the Art Studio. These ladies demonstrated some of the ways the arts can impact and empower the next generation of scientists, engineers, curators, and everything in between:

  • Connect with Communities

The students and mentors contributed to an ongoing basket-weaving project, a response wall discussing personal traditions, and a larger-than-life drawing at the Interactive Gallery and Community at Large installation.

  • See Things Differently

Are those ordinary scraps of cardboard and twist ties, or are they the makings of the next Oldenburg? How does our presence change the way a space feels, functions, or sounds? Our visitors experimented with these and other queries at the Art Spot and the Young Learners Gallery.

  • Blast into the Past

Museum educator extraordinaire Amy Copeland and various DMA volunteers led the So SMAART girls through the African and Ancient American galleries, where they discussed the ways that past cultures and communities influence our current beliefs, traditions, and practices.

  • Make Your Voice Heard

As part of a national competition sponsored by The Links, Incorporated, the students channeled their creativity in the Art Studio to create posters raising awareness about nutrition and healthy habits. Isn’t it a bit easier to forgo the leftover Halloween candy when you’re looking at a solar system made of fruit?

Keep an eye out for these young ladies—we can’t wait to see where the arts will take them!

Paulina Lopez
McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement

Take a Summer Safari at the DMA

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This year’s class of teen docents.

This summer, bring your summer school students and summer campers to the Dallas Museum of Art for a tour led by one of our teen docents! Our docent-guided tours allow students to form meaningful connections with works of art through close looking and interactive gallery experiences, including sketching, writing, group discussion, and more. Teen docents conduct summer tours for young visitors (ages 5-12) all summer long, during which they encourage critical and creative thinking while addressing all learning styles. If you are interested in scheduling a guided tour with one of our teen docents, the process is easy!

Step 1: Visit www.dma.org/tours. This page includes information about fees–FREE if you are an educational organization and scheduled 2-3 weeks in advance!

Step 2: Click on Docent-Guided Tour Request Form, making sure you already have a few dates approved for a visit.

Step 3: Choose whether you would like the “Animal Safari” tour or the “Summer Vacation” tour.

  • On the “Animal Safari” tour, students will set off on a safari to search for animals in works of art. They will think about how animals look and what they might mean and symbolize in works of art from all over the world.
  • On the “Summer Vacation” tour, students will travel the world without ever leaving the Museum! They will think about how they spend their summer vacation and make connections between their favorite summer activities and those they see in works of art.

Step 4: Choose a date and time. Docent-guided tours are only available in the summer on Wednesday and Friday between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. We can only tour 30 students every hour, but feel free to split them between a few hours! For example, half the students can tour at 11:00 a.m. while the other half explore our collection in small groups or eat lunch in our Sculpture Garden.

Step 5: Once the form is submitted, you will be added to our schedule in the first available time and day.

We have lots of room left in our schedule, and our teens are ready to show your students their favorite pieces! We hope you join us for a Safari or a Vacation soon!

Madeleine Fitzgerald
Audience Relations Coordinator

Learning to Help the Learners: My Year as a Leadership ISD Fellow

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Let’s consider the proverbial elephant in the room: many school districts, including Dallas ISD, are in need of community help, be it as informed advocates or active participants. Often, those of us outside the intricacies of the district itself feel helpless to initiate assistance, or to even know where to start. It was this realization, along with a desire as both a museum educator working with teachers and a parent of a DISD student, that led me to apply to be a fellow in this year’s Leadership ISD program. To be accepted into the program and participate this year has been an immensely rewarding, heartening, and humbling experience.

Helmed by Patricia Arvanitis and an amazing group of staff and volunteers, Leadership ISD is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering knowledgeable citizen advocates for the Dallas Independent School District, ultimately serving as a growing group who can help all students achieve and thrive.

From September through May, we forty-two LISD Fellows attended a series of monthly seminars each focusing on a different issue DISD schools and students face, including the opportunity gap, early childhood education, and buildings and facilities. Those may sound like dry topics, but the activities and conceptualizing that went into each proved to be fascinating. For the training on buildings and facilities, we began the day in groups charged with this question: what would an ideal school look like? As each group brainstormed and later shared their ideas, it became clear that our approaches focused on different ways of tackling the idea: one group considered what might be done with the empty school buildings already owned by DISD, while another group considered a perfect school developed around different educational models.

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One of the benefits of being part of the Leadership ISD is hearing from an array of knowledgeable voices. As part of our monthly meetings we had opportunities to discuss issues with parents, teachers, experts from organizations like Uplift Education, Momentus Institute, and Teach For America, and key figures like school board members, Superintendent Mike Miles, and Mayor Mike Rawlings. At such times we were encouraged to ask probing questions and critically evaluate whatever data was presented.

Beyond these monthly seminars, though, was the real meat of being a LISD Fellow. As part of our participation we were required to attend school visits, DISD board meetings, and participate in a Practicum project assigned to a specific school. These “on the ground” activities not only engaged us in a more individual way with the issues schools, teachers, and students are facing, but empowered us to create active and ongoing results for all involved.

IMG_20150508_141712As our year has wrapped up, two different things have been dominating my mind. First, after almost every seminar, meeting, and practicum discussion I was involved with, I always walked away with the sense that the issues schools, teachers, and districts are facing are immensely complicated. There are no easy solutions. The more I learned, the more complicated each topic appeared. Yet, this feeling was always tempered by an extreme sense of hope, of participation as a step amid these complicated issues, to chart a path through them. This second feeling — hope — is one that any of us can have by getting involved and informed.  If you are so inclined — and I hope you are — consider applying to be one of Leadership ISD’s Fellows next year, won’t you? The deadline to apply is June 1st!

Josh Rose
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

Recipe for Art: The DMA’s Delicious New Tour

With a new year beginning, we are delighted to announce a new school tour at the DMA! Starting this month, schools can book “Recipe for Art,” a tour developed for Kindergarten and First Grade visitors by our Manager of Early Learning Programs, Leah Hanson, and our Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs, Josh Rose.

One of the main goals of “Recipe for Art” is to help children make connections between art and their own personal experience. This is done by connecting a familiar idea (that of using a recipe to make a delicious treat) to the way that an artist makes a work of art. Instead of ingredients like flour and sugar, the ingredients for art are the elements of design: shape, line, color and texture.

On the tour, groups will visit four or five different works of art in the collection, in order to talk about the basic elements of design. Groups first explore what the terms mean before then looking closely at the work of art in front of them. This leads to discussion, after which the children engage in a variety of kinetic and multi-sensory activities. These activities were specially designed to address various learning styles and to focus on the attention span and needs of this particular age group.

One important characteristic of these young visitors is their need to move! The tour was specifically designed to give children opportunities for purposeful movement–movement that helps them connect what they see to the motion that they are asked to make. One example of this is an activity based on Jackson Pollock’s Cathedral. The children are each given “paint” (a piece of string) and they throw it onto a “canvas” (a piece of felt), in order to simulate the movement of Pollock’s action painting. This allows the children to burn off some of their energy, while also connecting them with the art!

The “Recipe for Art” tour was developed by members of the DMA staff, but it will be implemented by our wonderful docents, who lead most of our school tours. Yesterday, the docents gathered for a training dedicated to this new tour. Leah gave them an overview of the tour and its origins, before sharing tips and strategies on how to deal with this particular age group. After that, the docents were given an opportunity to look over the supplies for the wide variety of activities that they may use on the tour. I even took some of my fellow McDermott Interns into the galleries to try out some of the activities!

For most visitors of this age group, it will be their first visit to a museum. With this new and unique tour, we’re hoping to make their first experience not only a positive one, but one that they will remember. By teaching these curious and imaginative children the basic elements of design, they will then be equipped with all of the ingredients to make their own art!

We’ve already begun to schedule the “Recipe for Art” through the month of January. If you’re interested in booking a tour for your school or classroom, complete our tour request form online and our Audience Relations Coordinator Madeleine Fitzgerald will get you scheduled!

Liz Bola
McDermott Graduate Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching

Thankful for the DMA

Any other year at this time, I would be heading home to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family in Maine. This year, however, marks my first Thanksgiving away from home – the journey from Texas to New England is a bit too far to make for the holiday! I recently moved to Dallas to take part in the DMA’s McDermott Internship Program, which runs from September to May. Being away from my family is difficult this year, but I am grateful for all of the experiences that have been offered to me as the McDermott Graduate Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching.

While my intern duties cover a wide variety of roles here at the Museum, one of my main focuses is Go van Gogh, our community outreach program that brings a piece of the DMA to local elementary and middle schools. This past week, I spent time at Martha Turner Reilly Elementary School with a class of 4th graders. Our program was called Art of the Lone Star State, and it offered the students (and myself) the chance to learn more about the history of this state through art. We looked at works of art that depict Texas landscapes and cityscapes before making our own landscapes with watercolor pencils.

The opportunity to work with children is one of the reasons I applied for this internship, so I am extremely happy that I get to work with our Go van Gogh program.

All of the amazing Go van Gogh programs would not be possible without our volunteers! Go van Gogh has over 30 volunteers, both in Dallas and the surrounding Metroplex. These individuals volunteer their time with the programs in schools, but also spend time here at the DMA for volunteer training. During training, the volunteers become the students as we simulate the programs that they teach. We also spend time in the galleries, looking at the works of art that the students will see. Being a Go van Gogh volunteer shows a commitment to the DMA and to education, and we are extremely grateful to have such wonderful volunteers!

Go van Gogh is just one of the many programs I have been involved with during my time at the Museum. Three months into my nine month internship, I have worked closely with the docents, given school tours, and been involved in programs with Booker T. Washington High School, just to name a few! While I miss my family, I am thankful that I have this position and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the internship brings! And of course, I’m thankful for the opportunity to drive our amazing van around town!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Liz Bola
McDermott Graduate Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching


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