Behind the art scene

November 14, 2020

Teaching art class is different from teaching an academic subject, and now COVID-19 has made remote lessons a bit challenging. However, Wanda Lev, the art teacher at Patrick M. Villano School, has found ways to keep it creative.

“Teaching Art is different from teaching Math or Reading because, with Art, there are not always answers,” Lev explains. “For example, in Math, two plus two will always be four, but in art, there are many different and creative ways to do a project. It is hard because there is a lot of things that have to be prepared for different lessons, but it is easy because I love it!”

When Governor Phil Murphy ordered schools to close their doors statewide on March 13 due to the coronavirus, teachers had to quickly plan for virtual instruction. Like many other teachers in the district, Lev spent time last summer planning remote lessons for students this academic year. That included a virtual hour. At the beginning of the school year, all Specials teachers held Zoom meets with an entire grade level of students in the afternoons. However, some students said there was a great deal of lagging and glitching during those virtual meetings.

“The Zoom meets are getting better,” Lev said. “Students know to mute, so they are not all asking me questions at the same time, yet I can still answer questions directly when someone is having trouble.”

Lev said the upside to the virtual hour of Specials is that it brings the entire grade level of students together.

“I love that I can see everyone in those meetings,” Lev explained.- “It is sometimes hard to see your drawings, but when I receive the finished project in an e-mail, I love it!”

Lev has ideas for other activities, outside of her lessons, that students can do to stay creative in their spare time.

“There are so many art resources on the Internet,” Lev said. “I love the ‘how to draw’ step by step directions for students. I am a big fan of doodling, so you can always doodle on a blank piece of paper, or inside a shape. There are many links about different artists that you can read or watch to learn about an artist, but my favorite is just to think of an idea, look it up in images for some inspiration and make it your way. Let your mind create what you want!”

Fifth-grader Sylvia Baran already has a favorite Art project this year created with Lev.

“My favorite project was the corn project because there was a lot of detail and everybody’s were different,” Baran said. “Some were big, some were small, some were long, short, and some were dark, and light, too.”

Fifth-grader Emelia Kapuscinski also liked the unique corn project.

“I liked that I didn’t have to finish the project all in one day,”  Kapuscinski said. “I liked shading. It was easy, fun, and creative.”

Outside of school virtual Art lessons, these students keep creative at home by drawing, crafting, and painting.  Lev and her students agree that even in the pandemic, you can find creative ways to spend your time.

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