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Lesson Plans

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[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Julie Trzybinski (jtrzybinski)
Mon, 22 Feb 1999 11:40:38 -0500 (EST)

I was very surprised how well my elementary students handled seeing nudity
in art. My fifth graders are doing art history research projects. They
pick an artist out of a hat and do a short paper and an artwork in the
artist's style.
I brought in boat loads of books for them to use for research. All of the
books are designed for young readers, but still contain some nudity. I had
just a couple students act innapropriately and giggle and make rude
comments. Much to my surprise, the problem needed very little of my
intervention. I explained to the class: "In this room, we are all
artists, and artists see things differently. (We talk a great deal in
class about how to "see" things as an artist) The human body is one of the
most challenging things to draw. I have expectations of you, as an artist,
to look at these images differently, in a mature way. If this is something
that you can not handle, you may leave, but you may not disturb others that
chose to live up to my expectations." Usually this sort of challenge will
spark a student's interest. It amazed me when it happened again how the
rest of the class reacted to that student. Rather than laughter,I heard
comments such as "you're being a baby" and "we don't do that in this
class", the student was very quickly humbled.
Children will react to your expectations. If we censor everything because
we expect them to react inappropriately, they will live up to our
expectations. On the other hand, if we are honest and give them the same
respect we expect, they will live up to that too.