Art in Action Teacher Highlight: Kelsey Rothrock
The Art in Action team is honored to work with so many inspiring, dedicated teachers. We are constantly impressed by the creativity and imagination our teachers bring to their students every single day.
Here, we highlight one of our wonderful teachers, Kelsey Rothrock:
I have been teaching for 23 years, with the last 13 years being at Cureton School in the Alum Rock Union School District. I teach 5th grade currently, but started my teaching career by being a first grade teacher. I only teach language arts, science, and art so that makes for a very fun day. I am a wife and a mother to a 16 year old daughter, who loves doodling and drawing. Some of my hobbies include reading and bee keeping, and I am a big 49er fan.
I first got involved with Art in Action in 2013. Cureton held a training on how to use the program, and I was sold. I love how Art in Action teaches and exposes students to art, to history of art pieces, and then guides them to create their own art- which in turn helps to create a lot of confidence in the students themselves. I became the school site coordinator early on so that all of our students have the opportunity to participate in art.
I love teaching the AiA lessons because I also get to learn more about a certain style of art as well. When I teach the lessons, I do so over a few days so that the students really get an in-depth look at the artist as well as the style. I love learning the history of a piece, and what was happening at the time in the world that helped to create that piece. I bet some interesting art is going to come out of this Covid-19 time.
With Art in Action, the students are always so engaged with the projects and they love to show off their finished pieces. I have seen many students gain a lot of confidence in themselves over the lessons. It is so fun to see. Students really start to see themselves as successful artists. When we reflect on the final project, students explain that they love being able to see how they did something, then also see how someone else may have interpreted things differently. This really has brought out some interesting conversations about self-expression.
Arts education is so important to have in everyone’s life. I always loved coloring with my mom when I was growing up, but we never had any formal art classes until high school. Even in high school, the class offerings were limited, it wasn’t until college that I really started to learn and appreciate art much more. Art helps students work through and solve problems, develop motor skills and language skills, it helps build up their self esteem, and for many of my students it helps to relieve their stress and anxiety. While I veered away from art itself after college, I immersed myself in theatre, another form of art. All of these avenues help create critical thinkers and problems solvers, and I feel these skills are so important for our world.
During this time of sheltering in place, I have had many of my students share their art with me. Many are using this time to learn more about art using Youtube, but most of them are just using art to try to work through how they are feeling at the moment. I too have started coloring more just as a way to relax.
I think going forward art is going to be even more important to everyone, but especially kids who need a way to make sense of their world. Art will help them do that! Thanks to Art in Action for continuing to empower students to create!