THS art students focus on Conscientious Worker skill

Students in Jennifer McCoy's art classes at Tahoma High School worked this week on a project using two different types of reeds to create a cocoon shape. McCoy created specific targets for her students to assess their projects through the lens of the Conscientious Worker skill.

Editor’s note: Each month of the school year, Tahoma asks its teachers and students to place special emphasis on one of the nine Future Ready Skills. Tahoma Matters will feature examples of how those skills are being taught in classrooms. This month’s featured skill is Conscientious Worker.

In Jennifer McCoy’s 3-D Commercial Sculpture class this week, students transformed coils of wooden reeds and wire into creations from their own imagination and design. Beginning art students worked on creating skeletons for “cocoon” sculptures, which will be covered by tissue paper. An optional element of the project allows students to add lighting within their sculpture if they choose. While the project requires a sculpture that is 18 inches in height, length and depth, each artist could do anything else they wanted.

Senior Rachel Roeth said she was letting her sculpture evolve naturally as she worked.

“I’m just kind of putting pieces together. I think it’s going to be bigger than I anticipated, and I think I’m okay with that,” Roeth said. “I also wanted it to have this unique shape — not circular or square, but this thing you haven’t seen before.”

McCoy refers to all the Future Ready skills in a course book that McCoy created for the class, but she specifically highlights two skills: Conscientious Worker and Collaborative Teammate.

In the course book, students are asked to evaluate themselves on selected targets relating to the Conscientious Worker skill for each project. For example, they would rate themselves at a level 4 (highest), 3, 2 or 1 for targets such as:

Participate actively, work positively and ethically, are reliable and punctual.

Demonstrate professional attitudes and behaviors and are self-directed.

Set and meet goals, even in the face of obstacles and competing pressure.

Demonstrate initiative to advance skills to a higher level.

Prioritize, plan and manage time and work to achieve the intended result.

In addition to the self-reflection in their coursebooks, McCoy also shares targets related to the Conscientious Worker skill on tabletop displays at each student workspace.

While the beginning students worked with the wooden reeds on their cocoon sculptures, the advanced students were working on wire sculptures to show movement. The subjects of their work varied widely, from animals, people and flowers to an airplane (or boomerang or dinosaur — that particular artist was having trouble settling on one design). Another advanced student created a tree reaching upward, with a swing hanging below.

“I’m not really good at working with wire,” said junior Zoey Beggs, who was forming a pouncing lion out of silver wire. “But, I think it’s one of the most interesting projects.”

The works of McCoy’s students, along with the rest of the art department’s students as well as faculty art pieces, will be on display in the fourth-annual Winter Art Flurry reception from 6-7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6 in the art room hallway near the west student entrance at Tahoma High School.

To read more about the Conscientious Worker skill on the district level, click here.