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Re: Canned Lesson Plans


From: The Austin's (whest177_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Apr 21 2002 - 07:48:41 PDT

Teresa, what age level are you teaching? I don't care for the cookie cutter
approach to art either, but there are political aspects to my job. The
parents of my K-2 students want an art show, and they want art they
understand. I compromise by teaching my students how to break objects down
into simple shapes and to build them back up. A simple butterfly lesson can
not only be about symmetry, but truly looking at a real butterfly and having
the children discover that butterflies have 2 sets of wings and their spots
are not just big blobs of multi-colors. I recently did a butterfly lesson
with my kinders that had my administrator rushing to my room to tell me how
much the students had learned in their 25 minutes with me. Here's what we
did: we folded a paper into 1/4. I passed out pipe cleaners for bracelets -
1 per students. 1st section of paper - butterfly eggs. We drew a leaf with
overlapping circles on it for eggs - then I passed out round beads for their
bracelet to represent eggs. Section 2 - caterpillar stage. We drew a fuzzy
caterpillar in the 2nd section of our paper and I passed out those crazy
spring beads that I had crimped down. 3rd section was the crysalis stage and
we drew a crysalis then I gave them long tubular beads. 4th section was our
butterfly and we drew it then I gave them butterfly beads. They colored
their drawings the next class period. These students went back to class able
to tell their classroom teacher the life cycle of a butterfly, they made
abstract jewelry, and they have a drawing that their parents can oooh and
ahh over. Yes, their drawings are all pretty much the same, BUT they left my
classroom having been involved in true learning. Yes, I have a need to do
those cutsey simple projects like flowers and butterflies, but there's alot
going on under the surface.

Likewise, in writing about one's work, I find leading
questions that peg the artwork to "what is it?" to be
lower-level thinking. I believe that as art teachers
and artists, we must push beyond the socially endorsed
notions of "what art is" and not buy in to projects
that make daffodils out of cut and pasted nut cups.

Teresa Tipton