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Lesson Plans


Poems & Angst

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sandra Hildreth (shildret)
Mon, 22 Apr 1996 00:40:02 -0400


In the midst of people in pain over the state of education today, as well
as those of you trying to make the best of it with the arts, I have to
share a neat experience as I ponder over why I can't do it in the
classroom.

Because we won a wall mural painting competition, I used the prize money to
take a select group of 7 high school students to an all day Art workshop at
the Adirondack Museum. This is a small cultural and historical museum that
focuses on life in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate NY. The workshop was
conducted by Wayne Trimm, a retired wildlife artist for the New York State
Department of Environmental Conservation. He showed the students one of his
paintings and some great Hudson River style paintings from the wonderful
collection of the Museum. He shared some sketching tips and composition
ideas. Then we all went outside on the grounds of the Museum, overlooking
the Adirondacks and Blue Mountain Lake, and sketched for around an hour.
Lunch, then more discussion and more sketching, and a tour of the rest of
the Museum. It was such a wonderful time. This man was able to talk to this
group of 7 (interested art students, but I don't imagine any will pursue a
career in the arts) in a way that I can never do in the classroom. Because
I always have 25 or so other kids in the room that need to be asked to
listen, to look at examples, to participate in activities. To sit down. To
stop throwing things. Or I have to focus so much on maintaining order, that
I rarely get a chance to "teach" like this artist did. I can do it one on
one with students, but I can't get to everyone that way, or in an equitable
manner. Always spend more time dealing with the problem kids in class who
would rather not even be there. It's sad.... There's so much to share, to
show - and yet it is a struggle everyday. And I'm not new to teaching -
I've been learning and growing and working at this for 25 years. I'm not
sure why I'm writing this now - it doesn't make me look very good! But if
we face a brick wall in terms of changing our educational institutions,
then perhaps this is the reason we still need to have field trips, both for
the advantages they provide for students, and for the refreshing
experiences they can provide for the teacher. Or if not field trips, at
least extra-curricular activities for select, interested students.

I agree with you Henry - we have plenty to complain about, but we also have
lots we can do.

Sandra Hildreth <shildret>
Art 7-12, Madrid-Waddington Central School, Madrid, NY 13660
Art Methods, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617