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Lesson Plans


[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Karen Hurt (khurt)
Mon, 6 Apr 1998 11:24:24 -0400 (EDT)

Larry, and all --
Students are interested in hundreds of topics and all teachers have
their favorites. What I think Larry has posted here are topics rather than
themes. To me a topic is not the same as a theme -- A theme is the
overarching unbrella that unifies a group of topics -- a theme can be taken
from broad concepts and explored in detail and from diverse perspectives.
It is a way of increasing student understandings. It is a way to hook
students to investigating the big picture, to hold their interest, to get
them involved in the inquiry rather than merely completing one project and
going on to the next.

As an example, a year long theme could be "Exploring Contrasts."
The possibilities are endless, and pose a real way of looking at art. This
main theme can unify a lot of differnt content and topics including subject
matter for projects and critiques. By the end of the year students could be
looking at their own work and the work of others with a solid understanding
one aspect of visual literacy.

I think we teachers should be asking ourselves big questions too --
like why we include specific projects -- is it because the students are
easily happy with the process and come up with appealing end products? or
are they being challenged to learn about art processes and visual thinking?

Conversely, I think that extending a subject past the point of
usefullness is not beneficial either -- just because it might take students
6 weeks to get through a portion of material, does not make it thematic.
The big question here might be are they learning anything of value from the

I think this is a fascinating discussion and am interested in
exploring topics for long term themes. And what others have observed the
benefits to be. I have found that I often have to give up components that I
would like to include in order to teach with theme immersion -- usually, I
find it is worthwhile, but saying no isn't easy.

Karen Hurt

Grafton Library
Mary Baldwin College
Staunton, Virginia 24401

Voice: 540.887.7317
FAX: 540.887.7297
E-mail: khurt