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Re: lousy coloring skills?!

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MissCaiola_at_TeacherArtExchange
Date: Sat Dec 06 2003 - 20:37:24 PST


Maggie et all-

Here is my take from my own experiences teaching K-6: From Kindergarten on
up, during every lesson, I always teach them the proper technique for any
medium and/or tool that I introduce/use in the art room. I was so surprised my
first year at this school that my 6th graders did not even know how to hold a
paintbrush properly. They were all holding them like they had "cooties" or
something. The minute the 6th graders all received a pair of scissors, they were
holding them open, spinning them around on their fingers, even putting their
fingers inbetween the blades! Did no teacher ever teach them that scissors
were for paper not for people? I had second graders who would cry uncontrollably
if they made one line that was not "perfect" on their paper, instead of
erasing it and trying again. Did no other teacher show them the magical orange
thing on the end of their pencil called an eraser? (There should be no crying in
art class) From coloring with crayons, how to safely use tools (i.e.scissors)
so there is no bleeding in the art room, to introducing them to the proper
technique of colored pencils, I always stress to them that the more they know
how to proplerly hold and use a tool in the art room the better their skills
will become.

I also agree that laziness and lack of caring about a project goes hand in
hand with their neatness. I can point out to a student exactly where on their
project they stopped caring or gave up trying. I applaude my students who take
the time to use the tools properly and care about their work. It is like
students forgot why erasers were invented! They assume that if they do not draw
something exactly right the first time every trying something, that it is ugly
and they have to give up right away. I tell them that art is like any other
activity, you have to practice to improve your skills. Football players have
to practice, if you want to read better you have to practice reading at home
and not just at school, want to know your times tables...then you have to
practice, and if you want to be better in art, then you have to practice your art
skills. Art class is where you learn about new ideas and have the chance to
practice them with me. I have students with poor fine motor skills complete
some creative projects that may not look as "neat" as my general ed
students...but the difference is they took their time and made the effort to use their
tools properly.

So, for the past few years at my school I have been making it my mission to
teach the proper way to use tools, to emphasis that it is more important to try
and fail than not try at all, no "but mine is ugly" because that is showing
disrespect to themselves, and no "scribble scrabble" allowed with any tool.
(unless the specific project specifies scribbling, of course) I am noticing with
my younger students who have had me for a few years now that their skill
level with the materials are improving...and the fear of making a mistake has
lessened a bit as well. Self esteem is also an important skill to learn in the
art room.

Patti in Ohio
MissCaiola@aol.com

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