It Takes Real Art For Students To Teach Students

March 15, 1991|By Dianne Williams Hayes | Dianne Williams Hayes,Staff writer

Leslie Malitz's classmates at Four Seasons Elementary eagerly gathered their books and raincoats, poised for the sound of the dismissal bell.

But while lines formed past the crossing guard dressed in a bright yellow raincoat at the street corner in front of the Gambrills school, 12-year-old Leslie was more than happy to stay behind.

There were pictures to be drawn and work to be completed by members of the school art club, made up of about 40 sixth-graders who meeton Thursdays.

Each week, students delay homework and bicycle riding to spend an hour and a half drawing leprechauns, painting rainbowsand cutting and pasting mosaic butterflies.

"I think I have natural talent," Leslie said. "I draw a lot at home and a lot of faces inclass. I like to get creative ideas to do during the summer at home."

For 10 weeks, art teacher Mary Rubin turns the group over to students from Arundel High School, who offer students a different perspective on art projects.

"I think they have lots of good ideas," Leslie said of her young instructors. "It's better than having old teachers teaching you."

Two miles away at the high school, 17-year-old Becky Hudson prepares to change her role from student to teacher. And yesterday, on a drizzly afternoon, 26 elementary students were waiting.

Becky, Jennifer Kahl and Adam Woo, all Arundel seniors, are among nine students from the school teaching art to elementary studentsin a partnership program between the county Department of Parks and Recreation and the school system. The high school students are paid by the county for the program, which ends in April.

Yesterday, a few students teased Becky about her nervousness when she began, but shesaid that is all behind her now.

When elementary students are dismissed at 2 p.m., club members work independently on drawings. By 2:30 p.m., Becky is ready to go with their afternoon assignment.

"I love it," she said. "My day is interesting. I have a child developmentclass at school, and after school I love coming here, even when I'm tired.

"I was nervous that first day, but all the kids were so friendly and started asking questions. First they called me Miss Becky, but I said that won't do."

And after several weeks of teaching, the questions continue to be nearly constant. After showing one studenthow to blend colors to form shadows on the tree trunk, 11-year-old Rebecca Black needed a hand with her drawing.

"I wanted to learn todraw better," Rebecca said. "I like to draw doggies, funny faces, horses and rainbows.

"We do something different each week. I like them (high school students) because they are nice to us. They teach usto draw different stuff."

For Becky, there are additional incentives for her participation in the program. She is planning to become aprofessional photographer and is using the art lessons to sharpen her view of colors and shapes.

Her full course load includes an advanced art class taught by Linda Green, who coordinates the program between the two schools.

But she said the biggest reward comes from the faces of her students.

"They are really good," Becky said. "They have a lot of talent."

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