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Lesson Plans

Curriculum Issues

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Roxanna May-Thayer (
25 Feb 97 17:11:57 +0000

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Curriculum Issues
4:59 PM 2/25/97
The following is a response to the introductory tutorial for OUR PLACE =
IN THE WORLD. I am participating in the Curriculum Issues Seminar.

Hello and greetings from sunny Arizona! This is my first entry into an =
internet web site and my first contribution to this seminar "discussion".
I am an art teacher at South Mountain High School in the Phoenix Union =
High School District. We are an inner-city school with typical urban =
challenges. =
Our student population is 3500 - one thousand over capacity. This school =
is the home of the visual arts magnet program for the city of Phoenix. We =
have eleven art teachers in our department and offer classes in Drawing =
and Painting, Photography, Ceramics, Sculpture, Computer Art, and a =
general art survey course. I teach Jewelry and Fiber Arts and a freshman =
course called Art and Cultures that is cored with a social studies course =
called World History Through the Arts. =
Our school is in the process of putting computers in all of the =
classrooms and last Thursday I plugged mine in for the first time. It has =
taken me a few days to learn how to access the intenet, how to find the =
Getty web site, and how to successfully send e-mail. I'm a rookie-to say =
the least- but I'm very excited to learn all of this great stuff and what =
a terrific incentive to be participating in this seminar. =
I have had the pleasure of working with Dr. Mary Erickson for several =
years in my graduate studies at Arizona State University and most recently =
as a member of a research team of art teachers in the Phoenix area. I =
hope that my experiences adapting Dr. Erickson's curriculum ideas to my =
teaching will be a meaningful contribution to the seminar.
In response to Activity Three of the introductory tutorial, I am =
finding it difficult to select only one of the core lessons that would be =
most useful because they are so interconnected. I would begin the unit =
with a project combining lessons one and two. Contsructing a portfolio or =
folder first would hold my student's attention and give more meaning to =
the images of the icons, lists of vocabulary words, instructions for =
projects,etc. that would be collected inside. Kind of a place in the =
world for their stuff! If the portfolio had an interesting design, even =
similar to the parfleche, it would also have artistic merit in form if not =
in surface design. =
I am quite taken by the story of Fee in Lesson Three but I'm not sure =
how my students would like it. The truth is that many of them do not have =
the reading ability to be able to read it themselves but if I read it to =
them, they would think it is too childish and below their level. I think =
that I would have to find a story or even a video that they could relate =
to. I really like the idea of using literature or film as a part of an =
art lesson not only to expound on the theme but the interdisciplinary =
connections are important. (I'm lobbying for an English teacher to be a =
part of my Art and Cultures core)
I have done a project in the past that is not too much different than =
the collage in Lesson Four. The students work in partners to trace =
profiles of themselves on an 18 x 24 paper. The collage is assembled in =
and around the profile so as not to lose the image. The concept of time =
is incorporated by placing ideas of the past in the back and ideas about =
here and now or even the future in the front of the head. I think I might =
have to skip the lesson on the membership flag because of the connections =
to gang membership. I would stress membership to family, friends, school, =
and community and encourage them to include these images in their profile =
piece. Some of the finished pieces would be xeroxed and/or photographed =
and assesed following the key questions regarding reproduction vs original =
artwork, technical features, sensory element - shape, and natural context. =
Lesson Six, the art history lesson, would probably be taught the way =
it is written. I like Dr. Erickson's idea of placing this lesson toward =
the end of the lesson so that students that have little background in art =
or in learning thematically will be able to see the connection to the =
theme more easily.
Unfortunately, I would probably leave out Lesson Seven. It is valuable to =
have students write reflective essays about what they have learned but I =
have too many students with very poor skills or that don't speak any =
English and these kinds of lessons only aplify what they cannot do. =
Sometimes, I feel like I should get certified in teaching reading, writing,=
ESL, and ESP, but I really have my hands full just coping with the art =
part. =

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