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Lesson Plans

"Curriculum Issues"

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Patricia J. Miltner (
Fri, 21 Feb 1997 15:52:29 -0600 (CST)

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This message responds to the first week's suggested activities in the
Curriculum Issues Seminar, which is accessible through "Our Place in the
World", a curriculum resource posted on ArtsEdNet, the website.
I was fortunate to begin working with Dr.Erickson's thematic curriculum about
five years ago. In our DBAE curriculum in the Omaha Public Schools we
have also added a human diversity component. As we were introduced to
Dr.Erickson's themes we incorporated them into our chronological survey
of world art in the sixth grade. As a result of this thematic influence
I began using a portfolio idea as an assessment means. For that reason I
was drawn to the Core Lesson in Activity 2. The most important objective
is that students learn how to organize big ideas about change and
difference, and that they are accountable for
information(vocabluary,themes, concepts) and the implications on their
life experiences. They also acquired skill in visual and verbal notetaking.
In class as we scan visuals, focusing on art history, aesthetic, art
criticism and human diversity questioning, students are required to list
vocabulary and concepts in the theme and then to draw and/or write
definitions as we discuss the visuals. I have used this method for four
to five years. Students enjoy "documenting" what they have seen and
discussed as wellas extended curriculum ideas. A separate production is
planned focusing on a particular culture within the theme. Dr. Erickson
has enabled me to see and use many cultural connections to illustrate the
theme/chronology studied. As students travel thrugh the timeline they
are also able to connect the here and now to the past. (Stonehenge to
Carhenge, parfleche to backpack) The the inquiry leads them to
understand this wide range of thought and expression. Students are
active participants in the scanning and questioning even if they give no
verbal answers. I can assess understanding by reviewing portfolios.
Their "notetaking" also serves as a springboard for other assignments in
that particular theme and at the completion or at Parent Conferences I
have an accurate record of progress.
The greatest benefit is that students become excited when the
discussion carries the theme across time and place. Students learn when
the content relates to their world and life experiences, and they see the
connection. As I explored Dr. Erickson's Core Curriculum I really became
excited with the possibilities in the "Search for Place" collage and am
anxious to implement the lesson in our curriculum.The First Set of
Activities can be interpreted in movement exercises as well as visual
production. They are great "brainstorming" activities that I will
incorporate into our curriculum.

art is art is art is art is art is art is art is art is art is art is art is
Pat Miltner
Dr. Eugene Skinner Magnet Center
4304 North 33rd Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68111

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