Springfield art teacher’s ‘artatory’ helps students cope with change

A Springfield art teacher is using Facebook to share creative ideas with students and parents while school is not in session.

Gov Mike DeWine ordered all public and private K-12 schools to close for three weeks in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Sarah Wise, an art teacher at Possum Elementary School, said she decided to start the Facebook page because many of her friends were asking for art ideas to do with their children at home.

“At the same time, I’m dealing with my own shock of not having students in front of me every day and really missing my kids at school,” Wise said. “So it was a way to help them and help me get my teacher fix in too.”

Wise said she teaches kindergarten through 6th grade students - approximately 500 students a week.

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“The most important thing to me right now is how it (art) helps them cope with their emotions,” Wise said. “That might be just getting their mind off of whatever they’re stressed about by getting focused on something else, but also it’s a way for them to be expressive.

She explained that it is tough for young students to put their feelings into words sometimes, but when you put art supplies in front of them it starts to flow.

The art projects Wise is posting on her Facebook page highlights every day materials found at home including food boxes and gift bags.

When students at Possum Elementary School return from spring break, official lessons will be posted on the district’s website, but Wise said she hopes to continue posting ideas on her Facebook page.

“I’m hoping other people too will start posting ideas to the page that they see elsewhere,” Wise said. “Just so there’s one place for a lot of people to go to, to get lots of different ideas.”

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Jordan Williams, a previous aid for special need students at Possum Elementary School, describes Wise as one of the best teachers he knows.

“There is a lot of negative news in the world right now and Sarah is that little bit of positivity that these kids need,” Williams said. “When kids are feeling alone, anxious, or sad all they have to do is check out Ms. Wise’s Artatory on Facebook.”

Wise said she can not imagine what her students are going through during this pandemic.

“I think it’s really important that kids are using their minds and using their hands - doing productive activities,” Wise said. “Practice in art helps train your brain for everything else you need to do - conceptual thinking, problem solving.”

To visit Wise's Facebook page, search for Ms. Wise's Artatory.

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