Sarah et al:
I've read the Davis publication Teaching Meaning in Art, a Davis professional publication. While it's written by the series editor, I grew discouraged as I read it. I found much greater help in a book in the sames series titled Talking About Art (I think that's what it's named--look on the Davis website). Get the books through interlibrary loan at your local public library, if you want to save money.
Like Woody, I appreciate Dr. Bartel's comments. And Teaching Meaning uses examplars in its discussion of "Big Ideas." As a middle school teacher who rotates classes every nine weeks, I find I have to establish relationships with new students before anything else, because as a teacher I'm considered one of "them." Listening to and respecting students' opinions about the examplars stands for a lot, too.
I have also found that rather than assigning reading about the artists, or even leading a class discussion about the artist, it helps to show a short powerpoint with photographs or illustrations of the artists, photographs of where they lived, etc. It takes a lot of time, but it enriches their learning and connection with the artist.
After the personal connection with the artist--and after introduction of the artist's big ideas--adequate time does seem necessary to develop ownership and meaning. I used Terry Barrett's Talking About Art last quarter in this process--he has several ways of students looking at each other's work in a supportive way. If a student doesn't seem to be getting her idea across in the first sketch, a classmate can be very helpful. The student always has the option of asking for my feedback, but again, peer review at the middle level seems the best.
Ultimately, what I tell my students is that my best ideas for my own painting occur when I'm doing something completely different. I have to get the idea down quickly, or it flies away.
Hope this helps!
>This is my fourth year teaching art and I am thinking
>that maybe my kids (K-3) should be getting more out of
>art, I just don't feel that I am getting the point
>across about expressing themselves and the kids have a
>hard time taking ownership of their art and making it