I am a newbie to the list as well as a first year
teacher in a brand-new program (this is our first year
for elementary art in Arkansas) so I don't usually
have that much to contribute and tend to be a lurker
on the list. But I thought that I might respond to
your holiday project question since we might be in the
As a new teacher I don't want to be too disagreeable
about requests from my principals (I teach elementary
art at three schools), but I also don't want to set a
precedent regarding holiday projects. So I have
decided upon a happy medium.
So far, when approached about holiday projects I
remind everyone of my curriculum and frameworks and if
pressed, I make stand alone lessons that they can use
for display if they want to (this also allows me to
include ALL of my students in the lesson as some
students can't participate when it comes to Christian
So, for example, one school insisted on "Halloween
Masks" I didn't want to teach that lesson, so instead
we made multicultural masks and looked at African
masks, Mexican sun masks, chinese dragon masks, etc.
and the kids were able to choose from pre-selected
options for which I provided the templates.
For Christmas one of my schools insisted on a backdrop
for the "holiday concert' and so we are making a giant
paper mural made of bulletin board paper that I taped
together and each class that works on the project
first gets a twenty minute lesson about Diego Rivera.
Another school insisted on "christmas ornaments" for a
community project where the theme is the 1940's. So,
being passive agressive I read my students "Sadako and
the Thousand Paper Cranes" and they are making paper
cranes for a "peace tree" instead of a "Christmas
You will probably have to decide for yourself how you
want to handle holidays, but this has been my personal
Chris Massingill in Central Arkansas
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