Christensen is Iowa College’s Best Art Educator of the Year | New


“As a teacher, giving them the opportunity to practice their own learning strategies is very important. I teach them to be their own teacher, ”she said. “I hope by the end of grade 8 they will feel confident enough to be able to practice this in other classes.”

Christensen said that creating an environment (like an inverted art studio) where students can take control of their learning, in and out of the classroom, leads to personal motivation through which students earn in confidence, independence, resilience and self-efficacy, which are qualities that students apply to all areas of their lives.

All of his courses work on several techniques at the same time.

“The 6th grade students work on pinch pots and spool pots, so two different techniques; The 7th and 8th grade students work on the design of the cylinders; The 7th grade creates animals attached to it; Grade 8 creates their own personalized clay mug. They really solve problems through things, ”Christensen said.

“They all work on color theory through drawing; we have shoe designs, animal designs. If the students are interested in something, I try to find a way for them to focus on their own interests.

Classroom projects include drawing and shading contour lines with multiple media, creating creative 3D shapes, color theory, and painting.

She starts the class with a specific project in mind – but lets student personalities guide individual projects.


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