Teacher Bio and Philosophy

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Lynn Sisler, Educator and Artist

I was born in Rockford, Illinois, lived in Decatur, Georgia for 20+ years, where I taught academics to children grades 3-5, and now I live and work in the beautiful Pioneer Valley. As an artist, I work predominantly in mixed media paintings. Inspired by natural history, the lure of fairy tales, and the innate beauty of unusual animals and birds, I create personal narratives using various materials including acrylic or oil paints, wax, and paper collage on wood.  I completed a BFA in painting and a minor in Art History from Northern Illinois University in 1991. I also have BS-ed degree in Elementary Education and a MS-ed in Reading and Literacy from Walden University.

Currently, I am working on writing and illustrating a children's book.

Teaching Philosophy

I believe that humans are born with an innate sense of curiosity and creativity, which instinctually helps us make sense of the world. In the art classroom, I encourage students to "bring their A (art) Game, which means 'their best effort'. The students focus on specific art elements, design principles, and project-related vocabulary each month. These 'mini-units' build on each other project to project and year to year. They are designed to develop students' art skills by means of exploring and being exposed to a wide variety of materials. These units, routines, and habits of mind also serve to develop higher level thinking skills which incorporate and strengthen all learning styles and allow for student-centered choice. No student art work looks exactly the same, but each project has certain requirements. These art experiences deepen a child's appreciation of art in general, but also honors their individual effort, creativity, and understandings.

Routines and High Expectations for all Students

All students are taught through the Art Habits of Mind, which enable them to be thoughtful and successful in the art classroom. Depending on the grade level, classes focus on appropriate skills and experiences within the art curriculum, eventually increasing independence and decision-making as an artist. Students are expected to be respectful, responsible, and safe with others, the materials, and with regard to themselves.