Scholastic Art has come across my desk from time to time, and my first impression was that it was thin. Given the opportunity to actually review a set of 6 complete editions has put it in a new light. My assumption was that Scholastic Art was just the main titled zine, but in actuality, each edition is accompanied by a large poster and a teacher's guide (Which I had not seen before.) It is in this teacher's guide where the "meat" can be found.
As I look through the main magazine, it uses primary source images. We see what a Hopper, Hockney, O'Keeffe, Rivera, or Wiley actually look like, not some cartoon illustrations. This is important with a national push for students to use good primary source materials and references. Each edition connects deftly with art history, with clear commentary, vocabulary in bold text, helpful "side" information in the margins, and a back cover that ties the contents to an art related career. Each edition finishes with a featured lesson that ties all the content back together, and is open ended enough that teachers can adjust the lesson to their middle school or high school population.
If that was it, 1 lesson, 16 pages, and good source material it is something I might consider if I had a strong budget and wanted a little extra... and that's what I had previously thought about Scholastic Art, but there is more.
The magazine comes with a double sided, full color, folded poster featuring works within. When it features the work of a specific artist, a quote by the artist is on the poster below the image. (I like to have students write their interpretation of the quote and share for a few minutes) The poster should be laminated if your able. If there is no laminator in your school, Staples and other office supply places can do it for you. If you show them a school ID and speak to a manager, you may be able to get a discount or free lamination. If you bring a school tax ID form, they may be even more likely to do it for free because they can claim a tax credit for helping you.
The magazine also includes a teacher's guide that is very detailed with clear ties to National Standards and elements like hand-outs and other supplements that will be helpful for lesson planning. As I look at the "How To Read Art" Sept. 2016 edition, I see 7 to 8 detailed lesson plans organized by: Preparation, Procedure, Discussion, and Assessment followed by a rubric when appropriate. The side margin cites Core Art Standards, Anchor Standards, Objective, Essential Questions, Enduring Understandings, Vocabulary, and materials you can download or photocopy including links to videos. The last page gives additional information about the poster images.
The teacher's guide also include an "Elementary Teaching Guide Insert." These appear to have been developed by teachers in the field with their names and schools noted along with some in-class images.
The online portion of Scholastic Art includes links to past editions, videos, skill sheets, hands-on projects, posters, and art history on demand. Additionally there are links to core visual arts standards with a breakdown of high school and middle school levels. www.Scholastic.com/art
Now that I have had a chance to see Scholastic Art as it is intended--Magazine AND resource materials, I think I have missed out on something good. As a NJ Art Educator, we are still working with NJ Standards, but are moving toward the national model, so I can see where this would be a real help in planning and converting information.
TAB/open studio teachers may dismiss the use of Scholastic Art to do lesson planning, but I think if one of their stations included a library of Scholastic Art Magazines, students could do a research based, self directed unit. Lessons are fairly open ended enough for students to give projects their own personal/expressive twist.
Final Thoughts: I think it's an excellent class resource I have missed out on. There are other GREAT resources out there with peer created content that I will continue to subscribe to, but Scholastic Art seems to be a beefy steak that you could add to your buffet of teaching resources.
- Extremely Varied content and media across editions from 2D, 3D, Photography, and Design
- Clear ties to contemporary and older genres of art
- Clear and helpful information tied to National Standards
- Material clearly designed to be copied for students in the teacher's guide
- Primary Source Materials
- No fluff, waste, or ads
- The information does not really "expire" so you can use them for years
- The "thin feel" of the student edition may put people off who don't dig deeper
- Not for lower elementary levels (Under 4th grade)
- Lacks STEM connections (Though a good art teacher can tease them out)
Judgment: Two Thumbs Up!
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#1. Somewhere on social media, any platform, mention my blog with a link back to www.artedguru.com. It can be as simple as "I know a great place for art teachers to find ideas, resources, and classroom help for free: www.artedguru.com."
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