The Louisiana State University of Alexandria Department of Education students are receiving a true cultural and educational experience this semester as they partner with the Alexandria Museum of Art (AMoA).
Students enrolled in the course EDCI 3000, or Children’s Literature, have gained a unique perspective on children’s books as their course curriculum and pacing has centered around the current AMoA exhibit, Childhood Classics: 100 Years of Children’s Book Illustrations.
Professor of the course, Dr. Krista Redmond, also sits on the AMoA Board of Managers and decided this semester would be a once in a lifetime opportunity to have the Children’s Literature course collide with art education.
“I decided to seize the moment! I knew I wanted to incorporate components from the museum in many facets of the curriculum,” said Redmond. “There are so many great things about this relationship. It’s a great way for our students to truly get a unique perspective on children’s literature, but it is so great to find ways to build our partnership with the museum and community also.”
Students have not only learned literacy components like analysis and evaluation, but through the AMoA collaboration, have also learned Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) taught by AMoA Artist-in-Residence, Cindy Blair. This research-based training teaches educators techniques for facilitating thoughtfully-based discussions of art, thereby making education more engaging, inclusive, and equitable.
As one of the final projects in the class, students will have to lead a Renegade Tour, or unconventional way of enjoying an exhibit, on the Childhood Classics at the AMOA.
Students were divided into groups, and each group will take a section of the exhibit to educate their peers and community from an educator’s point of view.
“This semester has been amazing. The VTS strategies we learned have given me a whole new perspective on teaching. I have learned how to question and make connections through art that can be utilized in education,” said Alexandria Floyd, LSUA Professional Block student and student teacher at Phoenix Magnet Elementary School. “I am also looking forward to presenting at the Renegade Tour. We will be using VTS strategies in our presentations and getting in costume with our art characters.”
Not only did the VTS strategies have an impact on Redmond, but also the imagery in the exhibition that matched the course curriculum.
“The museum had it displayed beautifully,” she said. “I know I will be better educator because of this experience.”
The Renegade Tour will be held on Thursday, November 19 at 6 p.m. at the Alexandria Museum of Art in downtown Alexandria. For more information, visit www.themuseum.org.