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[teacherartexchange] Holiday art- to make or not in our public schools?


Date: Sat Dec 16 2006 - 15:04:52 PST

In a message dated 12/16/2006 10:49:24 AM Eastern Standard Time, writes:
I'm just curious - since many of you make Christmas projects - bells, trees,
etc., does everyone in your class celebrate Christmas?

In my district, we are not supposed to make "holiday art"
Your district sounds like mine- upholding the separation of church and
state. I absolutely stay away from holiday art. I have an adversion to cutting
out turkeys in art around Thanksgiving and making any symbols that relate to
Christmas or Chanukah,etc. However, I do acknowledge holiday time during this
time of year by having the kids create something that they can give as a
gift. I tie this in to character education and emphasis the idea that something
handmade is special and unique! For example, this year around Thanksgiving
my students made ceramic spoon rests in a leaf motif ( or any design they
wanted to create), and was asked to give it to someone that was important to them
with a note of appreciation and thank you. My kinders recently made a paper
origami "puppy in a present". Another idea is printmaking, the kids keep one
and give one.
I love the idea of art as a gift to give- from the heart and hands!

What sets my art program apart from the "art" (and I use that term loosely)
that the classroom teacher does is that we DON'T make "holiday art" in the
art room. I'm afraid that "holiday art" in the art room maintains the old
fashioned attitude that art is just a "frill". I work hard to keep art
education at the level of respect it deserves, so that the trite "cookie cutter
holiday art", for this reason, doesn't have a place in my art education program.
Susan on Long Island

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