Cultured learning

Published 6:23 am Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Troy Elementary third-graders took a field trip to the Confucius Institute at Troy University this week to learn about Chinese art and culture. Pictured, a student works her chopsticks. (Submitted Photo)

Art bridges cultures for TES students

Art took Jennifer Lindsey’s third-grade students around the world, and they only had to travel down the street to get there.

Lindsey, the art teacher at Troy Elementary School, has been working with her students to teach them about Asian art.

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“We started with calligraphic paintings, inspired by the Japanese cherry blossom trees,” she said. On Monday, nearly 140 students traveled to Troy University to take part in a hands-on learning program at the Confucius Institute, where international college students taught the youngsters more about the Chinese culture and art.

“It was awesome,” Lindsey said. “What was so great is that they got to meet people from different cultures. They enjoyed getting to experiment with chopsticks (they even ate gummy bears with chopsticks) and the college students taught them simple language sayings.”

The students even found time for more art, learning about Chinese theater and making masks.

For Lindsey, the opportunity to watch art form bridges across continents and cultures reinforced the importance of art in culture.

“I feel like art is something they can all be successful in,” she said. “They can express themselves and even if a child doesn’t speak English, they speak art.”

Lindsey has been teaching art at TES for four years, and she said broadening the scope of the program to develop international art experiences has been exciting this year.

“I’ve noticed that Troy is becoming much more multicultural, and I’ve been trying to incorporate that into my art classes,” she said. “When the Confucius Institute contacted us about doing this project, I thought it was terrific.”

In addition to the art workshops on Monday the third-graders were treated to a special Veterans’ Day concert performed by Troy University musicians.

“It was a fantastic experience,” Lindsey said. “They took time to explain to the students about the different instruments and music they were hearing.”