Desjardins, Art Teachers Draw New Plans for Distance Learning

Genevieve+Richmond+holds+her+slab+pot+in+leather+hard+form+while+her+art+class%27+Google+Meet+is+seen+in+the+background.

Genevieve Richmond

Genevieve Richmond holds her slab pot in leather hard form while her art class’ Google Meet is seen in the background.

Samantha Conti, Arts/Entertainment Editor

WOODBURY — Nonnewaug High School’s teachers and students have had to completely adjust to being fully virtual. Classes being all online comes with struggles, especially for the art classes. 

On the last day of in-school learning, both cohorts of students took home a bin full of art supplies. The supplies included clay, rolling pins, clay tools, and slip for clay. 

“I had an idea of what to do from last spring,” said art teacher Leeza Desjardins, who teaches Advanced Placement Art, Studio Art, Applied Art, Advanced Art, Foundation 1 and 2, and Ceramics 1. “It was a little less shocking. I actually prepared the students with 1-2 projects prepped ahead of time and gave everyone a bunch of supplies to assist in their capabilities to complete the projects.”

Students were asked to upload images of their art along with one sentence every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This allows for the teacher to stay updated on the art students progress on their work.

“I can not only see their progress and engagement but also if they are in need of assistance,” Desjardins said. “Art is visual so literally ‘a picture is a 1,000 words’ for me!”

During online classes, Desjardins asks her students to focus their cameras on their art so she can watch while everyone works on their projects.

Students who create two-dimensional art can just photograph their pieces and do not need to bring them into school. However, students taking ceramics need to bring their projects into Desjardins so they can be fired.

“Clay has to be fired, then glazed, then fired again,” Desjardins said. “So I need to see the ceramics students several times to do all that.”

In order for students to get their clay work fired and finished, students need to drop their work off at the school. This causes problems for the students that may live farther away and or parents that work full-time. Finding times to drop off schoolwork is a challenge for many students — even upperclassmen who drive.

“It’s not hard for me because I can drive myself there whenever I need, but it is still a 40-minute round trip,” said junior Eva Dos Santos.

To make things easier, Desjardins stays until 4 p.m. two or three times a week.

“I have offered to meet some of the students halfway if they are out of the district,” said Desjardins.