• Madalyn Grano, Bedford Village Visual Arts Teacher

    Bedford Village Elementary School

    Courses/Grades: Art K-5

    Art infusion with 5th grade, C.A.R.E Committee member, Makerspace Facilitator, Mentor, BTA Representative, BTA Co-Vice President, NYSATA Region 7 Portfolio Project Coordinator, WCALA Workshop Presenter, continuing education classes

    My interest in art came from growing up watching my mom, who was an artist making oil paintings, doing black and white photography and creating stained glass pieces. Seeing her being creative definitely influenced my own love of “making things.”  Since becoming an art teacher I have always felt that despite what graduate school taught us, there were a lot of constraints on kids with same-looking projects being produced and strict guidelines to follow. There didn’t seem to be much room for young students to express their own creativity. Of course I recognized the merit in students acquiring skills and learning new information. But there was also a struggle to get all students engaged and motivated to make art.

    After 9 years of teaching in a “recipe” sort of style where everyone was creating basically different versions of the same thing, I was feeling quite empty and disillusioned about what being an art teacher had become for me.  One spring however, at the NYSATA art symposium in New Paltz, I encountered a workshop about TAB (Teaching for Artistic Behavior). This was an epiphany! It made so much sense! Teaching students to think and work like ARTISTS;  investing their own interests and ideas into their work instead of the step-by-step version of art-making I had been taught to follow; giving kids CHOICES of what they wanted to make...what a concept! I implemented TAB into my classroom as soon as I could after that.  Since then my students are happy, engaged, and eager to get working when they come to class. What has also been great about teaching kids to behave like artists is that I have the opportunity to get to know them as the little (and big!) people that they are! Their individual personalities emerge as their art pieces evolve and grow. My goal is no longer to teach art, but to make artists.

    In my own art making, I gravitate toward 3-D sculpture including paper, plastic, clay and glass. I am always collecting things that I just know I will find a creative use for in the future! Visiting galleries, local art exhibits and museums are my favorite way to gain new insights and inspiration, although there are also amazing online resources that lend ideas as well.

    Schools attended: Skidmore College, College of New Rochelle

    Classroom Wishlist: What else?...More STORAGE SPACE