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Re: writing in the art room


From: Steven (salmon4me_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Apr 15 2002 - 07:09:25 PDT

Personally, I think it's great that you're required to include writing in
the art classroom. There aren't enough art teachers that include writing
in their curriculum. If you're from North Carolina, you've no doubt seen
the grammar and spelling of many of the students in our public schools.
One class that I worked with during my student teaching was absolutely
horrendous. They had no idea where to place commas, how to use
conjunctions, or even when to capitalize new sentences. This experience
was at a very well-to-do-school at that.
As far as suggestions go, why not try to include some kind of calligraphy
with the writing prompts. Look at some Islamic writing for example.
Islamic art incorporates tons of writing in their work. Maybe students
could write short narrative about a person in a work of art. You could
look at some Van Gogh portraits or DeKooning works and have the students
write from that particular character's point of view. Students could
design a zoomorphic poem where the words form animals (thanks to the NAEA
publication). Students could critique their own artwork as a prompt.
Other ideas: What is art? How do YOU define art? Describe an object
without giving it a name. Describe someone that you see everyday, but you
don't know their name. Look at an object in the room and describe it in
as much detail as possible. Name an unsual place that you've seen art
(not necessarily "I found art in an old house." Have students try to
think about unusual places like a dirty corner, a mud puddle that looked
cool, or a bird's nest with moss growing on it.

When I was student teaching at a high school, my cooperating teacher used
a book by Robert Henri as inspiration for the students. She would read a
passage every day and ask a question based on the passage. Students would
respond to the passage with a short paragraph or a few sentences in their
sketchbook/journals. I used the book "Letters from Vincent Van Gogh." It
proved useful to really get students to think about their art. It also
helped to get them started with class...they knew they were expected to
come in and work every day.

That's all I got.
Steven "Student Teachin'" Hoke