Cathy Weisman Topal
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Cathy Weisman Topal earned a B.A. in English from Cornell University and an M.A.T. in visual studies from Harvard University and the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. She has served as a lecturer in visual arts education at Smith College since 1974. She has also served as a studio art teacher at Weeks Jr. High School in Newton, MA (1970–74), at the Smith College Campus School (1974–2012) and at the Center for Early Childhood Education at Smith (1974–2010).
Topal has written several art resource books for teachers: Children, Clay and Sculpture (1983), Children and Painting (1992), Beautiful Stuff: Learning with Found Materials, co-authored with Lella Gandini (1999), Teacher's Guide to Thinking With A Line, an interactive CD-ROM (2005). She worked with the technology department at Smith and with many talented students to create the interactive CD-ROM, Thinking With A Line (2004), an interactive computer program for training teachers to use studio art materials and processes more effectively in the early childhood and elementary classrooms. Topal has also created a variety of curriculum materials: Explorations in Art: Kindergarten, "Big Book" and Teacher's Guide (2008) is part of a kindergarten through grade five visual arts curriculum series. Creative Minds Out of School (2011) commissioned by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Massachusetts After School Partnership, is an after school art curriculum designed to engage students in high quality visual arts experiences. All books and curriculum materials have been published by Davis Publications, Inc., Worcester, Mass.
Topal's lectures extensively and conducts a variety of professional development workshops for teachers related to harnessing the power and potential of studio art materials to research, explore and enhance learning in all subject areas. Current research interests include the centrality of the arts in education, design education, the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education, the work of Frederick Froebel, and recycling and the arts.
Explorations in Art: Kindergarten, "Big Book" and Teacher's Guide. The curriculum is part of a new kindergarten through 5th grade visual arts curriculum series, Davis Publications, Inc., Worcester, MA, 2008.
A review of Impact of Early Art Experiences on Litearacy Development Impact of Early Art Experiences on Literacy Development, by Kathy Danko-McGhee and Ruslan Slutsky, N.A.E.A. publication, 2007.
Chapter: "Bringing the Spirit of the Studio into the Classroom", In the Spirit of the Studio, edited by Gandini, Lella; Cadwell, Hill and Schwall, Teacher's College Press, NY, 2005 Thinking with a Line (TWAL) Teacher's Guide to the Interactive CD-ROM, Davis Publications, Inc., Worcester, MA, 2005.
Website for Thinking with a Line
Teacher's Guide to Thinking With A Line: CD-ROM program for training to teachers to use studio art materials and processes more effectively in the early childhood classroom, 2004.
Beautiful Stuff: Learning with Found Materials, co-authored by Lella Gandini, Davis Publications, Inc., Worcester, MA 1999.
Children and Painting, Davis Publications, Inc., Worcester, MA 1992.
Children, Clay and Sculpture, Davis Publications, Inc., Worcester, MA 1983