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Lesson Plans

A Really Good Art Teacher

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tommye scanlin (
Thu, 18 Dec 1997 11:08:27 -0500

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Craig Roland asked:

"Care to answer my "final exam" question? Complete the sentence:
A "really good" art teacher is. . ."

Mark Alexander, in the very same artsednet-digest, had the answer:

"So I try to be a high profile guy at my school. I put on
and promote a large art show in which every student participates.

I do not ever refer to my program as a "special," instead refering to it as
a program or a class. I invite myself to PPT's. I continue to attend all
the parent-teacher conferences my wife will allow. I assign students to
after school study hall (Club 3:15) to complete overdue work. I continue to
call my newspaper friends whenever the art class is doing something
interesting or unusual.

I make dozens of phone calls to homes soliciting chaperones for field
trips, and on a recent trip had a student to chaperone ratio of five to
one. I give sketchbook assignments which involve the family. A recent one
assigned for the holidays requires a family member to pose for a portrait.

Each marking period I write a one page flyer with a student illustration
which describes what has been going on in art class, and there is a
different one for each grade level, which goes home in each student's work
folder. I also keep the hallway displays current and well labeled with the
concepts being explored.

I get involved in the other disciplines by relating art lessons to those
subject areas, and I ask the other teachers to support the art program in
their classes in a similar manner.

I continue to send glowing mid-term reports whenever possible, and whenever
a good report isn't possible, I preface all bad news with a good comment.

I am also working with my principal and middle school teachers on some
changes to the grading system. My school is like Sandra Poo's, in that they
will not let a child who has failed a special area class such as art, music
or p.e. to be on the honor roll. I am trying to increase this incentive, by
requiring that the art, music, and p.e. grades actually be included in the
grade average which determines earning a position on the honor roll.

I doubt the war will ever be won, but don't give up. Continue to choose
your battles and fight them well."

Thank you Mark, for the effort you obviously put into your passion for art
teaching! A really good art teacher you are indeed.

Tommye Scanlin
Professor of Art
North Georgia College & State University
Dahlonega, GA

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