- The content of " Our Place in the World" is highly integrated, very dense
( thick and multi-layered) and reading through it requires real attention
on my part. A person spending real time on it would have to psoess a
sincere love, motivation or interest in the fine nuance and art of teaching
Art. The idea of Our Place in the World as the central theme is interesting
to me: When designing curriculum, what do you put at the top of the tree
that everything else branches off from? Many teachers use media as the
starting point. I use history ( History of Western Art; A Global
Perspective; Modern and Contemp.) One thing great about the site is the all
encompassing branches coming off the main theme. A person can go here and
see how the right theme can serve as unifying principle/ structure for a
myriad of issues- lessons.
- Activity two reminds me that that one or two well researched examples
can be as informative as ten. Microcosm to macrocosm. Also, one conserves
energy getting lesson prepared. However, I would add to "IV: Relationships"
for both the parfleche and the bison the following connections: Begin
parfleche discussion with discussion about student's and our own backpacks,
purse, satchels and book bags and what they tell us about ourselves today.
For the bison, Include discussion of Graffiti, sidewalk art, Mary Poppins
scene and the endless urge to make big paintings on walls in public or in
Activity Three- Core Lessons. I wonder about the use of these lessons for
actual teachers. At least in PA, and based on what I see at conferences, I
see many teachers with well developed, rich curriculums that have evolved
through many years of hard and enjoyable work. Why would someone adopt
these lessons out of the blue? Certainly these lesson give excellent ideas
and examples for writing meaningful and integrated curriculum. The theme
portfolio is an excellent example of what we should all hopefully be doing
already. The Membership Flag project is so thorough and complex. I love
the ideas of imagining essential groups of people- good for Career
Awareness, Self- Awareness, Jung's Archetypes... I'm already thinking that
participating in this kind seminar should be a required exercise. Would
new teachers be better able to utilize actual lessons?
Activity Five Response.
1. Q's that would interest my students in making, criticism, aesthetics
Making: Kids love to write about themselves. They eagerly compose
their required Artist's Statements for me. The process of getting them to
examine where their ideas come from is very interesting- they tend to deny
that the world influences them. So 1A, 1B and II E are good. Elements and
principles discussions tend to die quickly these days. The kids are more
interested in meaning, ideas. I find that getting them to think about
composition is difficult, so IIA nd IIB are important to make them think.
Criticism: Same issue. Kids love to discuss Interpretation,
Judgenmet issues more than descriptive, sensory ones. The task of forming
1-2 sentence Interpretive aStatements about artwork is excellent exercise.
Teaching about establishing criteria is great fun. Students like to talk
about how you can "tell if it's good or not." We joke about the pervasive
judgmental attitudes such as " If I like it it's good. If I don't like it,
it's bad." And, "I don't know what Art is but I knows it when I sees it"
etcetera. They easily relate to the critical process when we discuss how
they are so regularly subjected to judgement day to day in class, on
playing fields, in social circles...
Aesthetics: This is their favorite: We talk about aesthetics as
ideas about what is beautiful: Ideals of Beauty. How do African lip plates
relate to breast implants and liposuction? Who is the Gap girl and what
does she say? As Spartans ( school mascot) and wealthy suburbanites, how
does the community sense of aesthetics differ from that of other nearby
communities? How do our ideas about beauty influence our perception of art
and people from other cultures? How did Hitler's ideas about beauty pan
out? How does the NEA decide who to fund? Upon what criteria do critics and
judges at Art Shows base their decisions?
I realize I'm telling you more about what we do than about the web
site. But this is telling you about what issues absorb student attention.
Art History: The icon I looked at was the Reproductions Icon
because I noticed it immediately: It is so rare for teachers to begin with
the basic issue: What are we looking at? Ceci Ce N'est Pas Une Pipe!!!
Mark Tansey The Innocent Eye painting. So I was happy to see this as the
beginning of the unit. Your questions about imagining the original artwork
and distinguishing it from others are valuable and should be posed
regularly. This is good to use in discussions on Originality: Are classical
reproductions of Shakespeare and Mozart original? What about Hendrix's
Star Spangled Banner and Clueless? What about copying ( Chinese masters)
and Duchamp and interpretations of the Mona Lisa and American Gothic? What
about Authenticity? Is a reproduction of an artwork less valua\ble than the
original? Why? How do fake Birkenstocks measure up to real ones? What is
lost in the translation from the real Rothko to the little postcard?
I'll close with a technical question: I lost italicized and
underlined words going from clarisworks to email eudora, and can't make
them now. Any suggestions?