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Educating with art elements

Dakota Wesleyan University student Taylor Smidt pours blue and yellow water together to create green while her classmate Breanne Bradenburg looks on during a free art class held Thursday night at the Visual Arts Center on campus. (Sara Bertsch / Republic)1 / 3
Vienna DeWitt and Emma Weins have fun with various elements of art Thursday night during a free art class held at Dakota Wesleyan University. (Sara Bertsch / Republic)2 / 3
Hope Baysinger tapes together an art project Thursday night during a free art class at Dakota Wesleyan University. (Sara Bertsch / Republic)3 / 3

Carefully, Dakota Wesleyan University student Taylor Smidt mixed blue and yellow-colored water.

"And what color will this make?" she asked as she poured the two water cups together.

"Green!" one student shouted.

Smidt smiled and told the student she was correct, and continued to explain primary colors to the several students sitting around her table, waiting to paint.

Smidt was one of 23 Dakota Wesleyan students who tested their teaching skills Thursday night during the free art class for students ages preschool through fifth grade held at the campus Visual Arts Center. The class was part of a hands-on learning session Smidt and her classmates were completing their required class called music, movement and art in the elementary classroom.

The class, taught by instructor Lacey Musick, was a way for students to learn how to incorporate music, movement and art into their everyday classroom. Her 23 students were all elementary education majors.

"They have to write an art lesson plan, work with art and then actually teach it to students," Musick said.

The music, movement and art class is required for all elementary education majors, and Musick was excited for her students to have a practical, hands-on lesson in how operating a classroom works.

All of her students were tasked to create lesson plans around different elements of art, including color, shape and form, lines and texture. Thursday was the first of a two-night event. The second class will take place next week on Thursday.

"I'm proud of how they had to work through the thinking process," Musick said. "They started with an element of art, and they had to think of a way to incorporate that ... from step one to step two."

The night was a significant success, Musick said, as the classroom reached its full capacity of 56 participants. Musick said they even had to turn parents away because they reached the limit of students.

The Dakota Wesleyan students ranged from second-semester freshmen to seniors, Musick said, and she was eager to see her students learn the value of art in the classroom.

"You can teach the main core subjects, but have students see it through different ways just to diversify your teaching. You can reach all students and have them not just sit and listen, but how they can become involved in their learning," Musick said.