Posted: Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sandi Carson, art teacher at A. J. Whittenberg Elementary, has stepped out of the classroom and into the spotlight! Artsonia, the world’s largest online student art museum, has chosen Mrs. Carson for the Leadership Award in recognition of her outstanding leadership in art education. The award also recognizes significant achievement in the area of technology integration in the school’s arts program.

As you walk down the halls of A. J. Whittenberg, you’ll quickly see why Mrs. Carson’s expertise in the classroom led A.J. Whittenberg to earn the #1 ranking in South Carolina and a #17 ranking nationally for their online art gallery. Color ribbons, symmetrical patterns using folded tissue, and robots made from recycled computer parts provide cheerful expressions of student work.

Sandi Carson has taught art for more than 30 years, most recently at A.J. Whittenberg. She has successfully created an immense art gallery that showcases student work using the Artsonia website. Parents, grandparents, other family members, and friends can become “fans,” comment, and share a student’s artwork with others.

Every piece of art created by Sandi’s students is posted on the website, along with an artist’s statement about the piece. “They are writing about art and describing what went into the creation of that art piece. That takes work, especially for the younger students,” said Carson.

Jackson, a first grader, made a papier-mâché flying fish while his class was studying habitats. “What I liked about building my papier-mâché flying fish was that when I looked at a picture of a flying fish it was beautiful and looked like an angel,” he wrote.

“I was amazed at how well our first graders worked with 3D form, using newspaper and masking tape to build the shape of their animal,” said Carson.

She teaches students about famous artists like Jasper Johns while also connecting her lessons to classroom assignments. Last year, third graders developed maps of South Carolina similar to Johns’ artwork Map, which depicts a map of the United States in the primary colors of blue, red, and yellow. “I teach the artist’s style and the students integrate that style into their classroom assignments,” she explained.

Teachers from more than 100 countries showcase their student work on Artsonia. During the 2013-14 school year, the A.J. Whittenberg Elementary gallery showcased nearly 10,000 pieces of artwork. This popular collection has been visited more than 38,000 times and has received thousands of comments from friends and family.

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