Hawthorn Elementary South School is ranked #7 in the state out of 208 schools participating and is ranked 40 in the nation out of 2,994 schools participating. Schools are ranked on the website based on the total number of art pieces submitted, the number of fans who view the artwork, and statements students make about their artwork.
Arstonia showcases over 27 million pieces of artwork from schools across the United States. Typically Art Teacher Karen Brennan will showcase about 1,500 pieces of artwork annually from 325 students kindergarten through fifth grade.
Besides the impressive rankings, Mrs. Brennan received Arstonia’s Leadership Award for the 2013-14 school year. Only 10 schools per state receive this honor.
The Artsonia Leadership Award recognizes teachers who go beyond the classroom to encourage family and community involvement in arts education. The award also recognizes significant achievement in the area of technology integration with the school arts program.
“I’ve been doing Artsonia.com with the students for the past seven years. It’s a great way to keep digital portfolios for the students and their families. Family members comment on the artwork, some even in multiple languages from multiple countries,”Mrs. Brennan said.
While art classes follow the state art standards, Mrs. Brennan also makes sure she ties in English Language Arts and math into her lessons. Students in Grades 3 through 5 are expected to title their artwork and explain their artwork to their audience. With some artwork students follow patterns, fractions and symmetry. In Grades 3 through 5 students are expected to use the iPad to find their artwork subject through a QR code, take photos of their artwork, post it on Artsonia.com, title their artwork and then write a reflection statement about their work.
For instance, in the watercolor leaves project fourth grader Grace Koepke commented that“Falling for fall is a water color pencil artwork. It took about three days to finish and we cut out two layers then glued it on to a fall color. We used analogous colors and all of us tried to do each (leaf differently). If I would do something differently I would change the part where you could use any colors, not just analogous (ones). My favorite part of my art was when we painted over the colored pencils and it turned into the watercolor. I hope you enjoy my artwork as much as I did.”