I agree with you, Diane. I work with kids who don't see much other than
their own classroom and own home every day. What most kids lack today
is experiences and background knowledge. I live less than two hours
from the ocean and the mountains, and in most classes over half my
students have never left our small town.
I only have them for 45 minutes every week. I can't take them to a park
or on a field trip each week, but I try to bring in as much realia as
possible. We study plants, instruments, chairs, each other, whatever we
can in our creative expression. But there are times when I can't bring
something in like animals, or the ocean and mountains. We all need to
study and gain knowledge before we can produce. Sometimes that comes
artificially from photos. Although my students are never allowed to
copy, I help them train their eyes to see the elements that we don't
always pay attention to when we are busy living our busy lives.
I completely agree that as we develop we should create from what we
know. But what if students just don't "know" yet?
Art Teacher/ Beginning Teacher Mentor
Whitmore Charter School of the Arts and Technology
3435 Don Pedro Road
Ceres, CA 95307
From: Diane Davis [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, August 22, 2008 12:23 PM
To: TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group
Subject: Re: [teacherartexchange] Learning by copying?
If kids don't have the visual memory of what a type of animal looks
like, or what a specific landscape looks like, do you allow kids to
use photos as prompts from which to interpret? Or how do you deal with
them wanting to draw when they don't remember or understand what
something looks like. You can't always draw only what you see in front