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Lesson Plans

Our Place & H.S. Cooperation

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Mary Erickson (MARY.ERICKSON)
Wed, 22 Jan 1997 18:03:59 -0700

Becky Alexander recently responded to a suggestion I made about
collaboration among teachers across disciplines. She focused on some
differences between collaboration at the elementary and secondary levels. I
think she contributes some positive specific suggestions which are
particularly timely, as the dialog about art specialists and general
classroom teachers continues. She wrote about using poster reproductions
as vehicles of cooperation. I think she has some good ideas. I built on
her ideas in my response, which follows:

If I understand you correctly, you seem to be suggesting that one way
secondary art teachers can begin to strengthen their relationship with
other secondary teachers is to help facilitate (and even recommend?) their
colleagues' selections of poster reproductions to display in their
classrooms. You offer some interesting examples.

Let me build on your suggestion. The art teacher might make
recommendations to colleagues at various levels of sophistication. More
easily comprehended suggestions might focus on subject matter (such as your
suggestion of flowers and plants for science class). Suggestions perhaps
requiring a bit more research might include, for example, recommendations
of artworks from particular eras and cultures in social studies (for
example Jacques Louis David and Francisco Goya's paintings for early 18th
century European history or Japanese woodblock prints for Perry's "opening"
of Japan). Suggestions requiring even more comprehension might include
broad themes (not just topics or subject matter categories). Graeme
Chalmers proposed "missionizing" as a theme in his recent response to the
Elizabeth Paul dialog (about art specialists and general classroom

I've suggested ten broad themes within my website curriculum resource "Our
Place in the World," which is presently featured on ArtsEdNet. The theme
"Our Place in the World" is about how we use art and other visual signs to
help us find and understand our place in the world (both our place in a
physical world and our place among groups of people). If you are
interested in checking out the other themes, click on "Stories of Art" on
the Our Place home page, which is accessible from the red ArtsEdNet

Perhaps one criterion of a good instructional theme is its potential for
interdisciplinary transfer. I'm presently working an a Chicana/o Art Art
Education website with Arizona State University's Hispanic Research Center
and we are considering just these issues. We've tentatively identified
several possible themes that we hope will help our website users not only
better understand aspects of Chicana/o identity and Chicana/o Art, but
which will also help "Anglos" and others to reflect on aspects of their own
cultural identities. We're considering, among others, the theme of
"Protest and Revolution." When revolution is considered as a broad theme
it is just as much about science as it is about history. Protest and
revolution are important issues at the personal level as well as at the
political level. Much literature has revolved around these ideas and many
adolescents could find an issue to protest in their lives, which might
serve as a stimulus for a writing project.

I'd like to imagine that an initial suggestion for cooperation (such as the
one you propose: focusing on secondary teachers' selections on poster
reproductions for their classrooms) might lead to further opportunities for
meaningful interdisciplinary planning across the secondary as well as
elementary curriculum.