Woodland Middle School students learn the history of art from around the world while creating innovative projects

Previous Next

Woodland Middle School students learn the history and background of different eras of art while creating innovative projects by taking Nicole Caulfield's art classes.

Nicole Caulfield teaches Woodland Middle School students about the history of art while also introducing them to innovative ways to create art projects.
Nicole Caulfield teaches Woodland Middle School students about the history of art while also introducing them to innovative ways to create art projects. 

Students taking Caulfield's art class elective at Woodland Middle School learn more than how to create engaging pieces of art, they also learn about the artists and different styles of artistic expression from eras throughout history. "Each quarter, I pick a different time period to study, and this quarter we're studying the Dutch Golden Age," said Caulfield. "The Dutch Golden Age signifies the beginning of a time period when art was created by merchants for sale to the general public instead of previously when churches and the wealthy commissioned pieces directly from the artists themselves."

Students used cardboard, paper, hot glue, and other materials to recreate their own version of homes from the Dutch Golden Age as their final project.
Students used cardboard, paper, hot glue, and other materials to recreate their own version of homes from the Dutch Golden Age as their final project. 

Throughout the quarter, students studied the variety of art and artists of the Dutch Golden Age while also creating different projects related to their studies. Students drew landscapes and portraits based on the style of the time; acted out painting where students posed in the same way as the subjects of the paintings they studied; and closed out the quarter with their final project being the creation of cardboard representations of unique Dutch architecture.

Students used cardboard, hot glue, and a variety of other materials to create houses which they hung in the school's hallway, creating a virtual village for all of the students in school to enjoy as they walk from class to class. "The architecture of Dutch houses are so unique that I felt creating replications of the homes would be really interesting for the class," said Caulfield.

Students say that Ms. Caulfield's personality and approach to class makes learning about art history fun, interesting, and engaging.
Students say that Ms. Caulfield's personality and approach to class makes learning about art history fun, interesting, and engaging. 

Students greatly enjoy learning about the history of art as well as how to create new projects. "Art history is fun because there's so much to learn in art," said Colton Peterson, a sixth grader in Caulfield's class. "Ms. Caulfield is a great artist and teacher – she manages the class fairly and keeps it fun." Liliana Rodriguez, a sixth grade classmate, agreed with Peterson. "Ms. Caulfield is nice, funny, and a great teacher; her personality makes the class fun."

For some students, the addition of learning history in an art class was a different but welcome change. "We learn a lot more about the history of art more than just the ways to create different kinds of art," said Evalisse Gijon, a fifth grader. "I really enjoyed this particular project because I like working with 3D art by building different projects." Sage Moore, a sixth grader, agreed with Gijon. "I've learned a lot about the Dutch Golden Age, and I've certainly come to enjoy it; learning about the culture of art has been really interesting."

In order to keep students involved and interested, Caulfield uses techniques to come up with innovative projects. "In order to brainstorm ideas, I look at the work created by the artists, and develop projects that I think will truly engage my students; honestly, the best projects come to mind when I am not thinking about them," said Caulfield. "There are 35 students in my class and since the period is close to the end of the day, I try to make the class projects very active so the students can blow off steam while learning new information."

Students hung their reproductions of Dutch architecture in the school hallway so all the school's students could enjoy their work.
Students hung their reproductions of Dutch architecture in the school hallway so all the school's students could enjoy their work. 

This is Caulfield's third year teaching at Woodland Public Schools. Before coming to Woodland, Caulfield taught in New Hampshire. "I decided to become a teacher because it's simply fun to work with kids," said Caulfield. "I find it especially motivating and inspiring to see the kind of creativity students exhibit when they come up with extra special ideas for projects."