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Lone Pine Art Teacher Stephanie Olson Leads Creatively

"Art class is my favorite place to go, because I love drawing!" says Zuheir Sibai, a 2nd grade student in Stephanie Olson's class in Lone Pine Elementary School.  Olson, also the Content Area Leader in Bloomfield Hills Schools, is leading K-8 art programs in the transition to Teaching for Artistic Behavior.  


Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) and choice based learning empowers students to make choices during the creative process.  Currently, the art room in Lone Pine Elementary is organized into seven different areas, called studios: Painting, Drawing, Digital Arts/Photography, Printmaking, Collage, Sculpture/Architecture, and Ceramics.  Other Bloomfield Hills elementary schools have also begun the TAB program this school year.


When students work at a studio of their choice, they have been more engaged and invested in what they're creating.  "I love that we get to build and paint!" Ava Pierre, 2nd grader, exclaims. "I like the Sculpture Studio too!"


"I like that the stations help us be creative," Madisyn Durfield, 2nd grader, explains.  "I'm making a zoo with a frog inside.  It has a sun, water, and a girl.  It is a painting, but I'm using lots of materials. Art is so fun!"


When Olson opens a new studio, she encourages students to learn specific skills. "I try to make it a game, and give them a challenge," Olson explains.  "As soon as the Sculpture Studio opens, students want to use the hot glue gun. In order to get the privilege of using the hot glue gun, they need to participate in the attachment challenge, which means they can't use tape, glue or staples.  They are asked to create a sculpture, and come up with four different ways to attach things together in creative ways.  They can use straws, pipe cleaners, tin foil and random objects. It's a good way to push students to think creatively."


Maurice Hall excitedly shares, "I drew my name out of clay!  Art class is so cool!" as his Kindergarten class receives the privilege of working with clay in the Sculpture Studio.  "I love painting and drawing, and love playing with Legos in the Architecture Studio," Jaxon Falcon, Kindergartener, adds.  "Art class is awesome!"


Olson has also led many projects where students have created art pieces and donated them to local children's hospitals.  


In 2014, third grade students created brightly colored canvas paintings of a puppy, piglet, teddy bear, and cat which were hung in the new pediatric clinic in the neuroscience center at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.  "It was such a memorable experience for the students," Kathleen Janelle, IB Teacher Leader, MYP Coordinator, Bloomfield Hills Middle School says.  "The students were excited that other children may look at their paintings and feel joy."


More recently, Hayden Schwartzenfeld was inspired to ask his third grade class to help design a coloring book to donate to C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, University of Michigan.  After having cardiovascular surgery he felt he could help other children facing health challenges. "I called and asked Target and Allegra Printing to donate crayons and coloring books," Schwartzenfeld explains. "Mrs. Olson was a lot of help too.  I asked my classmates if they could draw friendly monsters for the coloring book.  I drew a monster that has a speech bubble that says 'I hope you feel better.'"