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Using art as discipline - Maggie


From: Sandy Bacon (sbacon_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Feb 27 2002 - 19:43:17 PST

You go, Maggie! I would have done the same thing.

I was once asked by a classroom teacher why I stayed so late and worked so hard...what she
left unsaid was, "it's only art class." I gently explained to her that if I didn't treat
what I do as important and ttreated it like it was just a "special" class, then what
message am I giving to the children, parents and the rest of the staff? Afterall, I am a
classroom teacher that has chosen a different approach to teaching and learning.

Another time, I walked into my school and a kindergarten project, a floor to ceiling color
study which was giant scoops of ice cream covered in different textured pieces of the same
color and piled on top of each other, was gone off the wall. I'm thinking, okay, it was
there when I left last week. I find out that the librarian decided since the top scoop
came unstuck from the wall, she would take the whole thing down -- and threw it away! What
message did that send to the children about their hard work, what did it do to their pride,
well, I could go on and on about what message it sent!

When I questioned staff in the lounge about the art's disappearance, this is when the
librarian, who was about to retire, decided to fess up to me. She thought the art had been
up long enough and she was tired of looking at the back of the sticky tape. (2 weeks is
too long?) You would have been proud of me, I remained professional, but in no uncertain
terms told her how wrong she had been and that I thought it was a good thing that she was
retiring, afterall some things just outgrow their usefullness. Outcome: principal was
outraged at her and made a point of apologizing to me and purchasing a piece of artwork
from each grade level (giving the money directly to the child) at the gallery hop, had it
professionally framed and placed it in the school's hallways. She started this 3 years

Score one for art class.