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Meet the Teaching Artist: K. Lee Mock

Posted Saturday October 22 2016 at 10:34 am.
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K. Lee Mock

I am a visual artist, primarily working with drawing and painting media.  My studio and en plein air practice is both reactionary and reflective.  I observe the moving external world and bridge it to my internal world of emotions, memories, and wonders.  The art created becomes a documentation of my desire to express the motion and feeling of a conversation between my interior and exterior spaces.

I believe that by engaging in manipulation of materials, students can find their visual voice to express their reactions to the world around them - social or environmental.  Learners can also explore new imaginary places and possibilities together by sharing a creative and collaborative experience.  One of my joys in teaching is watching a group of students build a place-scape out of fabric, scraps of paper, cardboard, or found recyclables, and crafting a tangible place with imaginable possibility for story telling.

My experience includes my BFA in drawing and painting from the University of New Hampshire and my M.Ed from Lesley University, which established my foundation to teach and nurture the whole child.  I have taught students ages preschool through middle school, in public schools, Montessori schools, and museum settings.  My main objective is to develop child-centered art making opportunities that integrate core academic subjects with visual art.  I want students to be able to practice Studio Habits of Mind through my scaffolding of developmentally appropriate skills and content for each student.

I will be working with preK-6 at the Adams School in Boston.  In the first few weeks, we have created drawings, paintings, and paper strip places.  We have been talking about our neighborhoods and what we see on our journeys between home and school - human designed buildings, roads, and vehicles, as well as the natural world of plants, animals and the ocean.  I am deeply interested in a sense of place and belonging to a community - I want students to see and express their sense of belonging and observation of their communal experiences.

I hope students in the program feel like each of their unique experiences in making the art matters.  It's not about the product of the artwork itself - it is the development of the child while creating and reflecting on the work that is most important.  I hope teachers will be able to experience that students can react or express themselves with any topic and media.

Student and art teacher painting wall

K. Lee helps a student paint in a mural designed by the student.

My goal as an art educator is to value all of my students as artists, each with unique creative visions and voice.  I believe the purpose of teaching art is not solely for the final product itself, but the development of the child during the process of the whole class lesson, goal setting, creation, reflection, and presentation.  Students gain understanding that the work they create carries meaning and importance, each step of the way.  My curriculum balances the frameworks, standards, and studio habits of mind through cross-curricular units that explore material, technique, and world culture.  By establishing a foundation of trust and safety, my students build confidence and creative integrity.  The culture of my art room fosters confidence, individuality, and collaboration. As a result of my exposure to teaching in a Montessori environment, I encourage my students' interests and curiosities to guide their art making.  I provide flexibility in enabling students to choose how they will respond to a given inspiration or prompt.  My students learn how to analyze their process, persevere through their challenges, communicate their visions, and connect with each other.  They are engaged learners who are inspired to express themselves through a variety of creative modes to incite positive change in themselves and the world.  I strongly believe that art education is an integral component in building fundamental skills of 21st century critical thinkers and problem solvers.

Here is the video I created from the last two weeks of school where I trusted my students to work independently and freely!  We projected it between songs at our Spring Concert and parents loved it!  I think it shows the learning environment I foster with my students.

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