I student taught under a woman who has a new theme every year - but she
teaches in 4 schools - one school each 9 weeks. What I did my first 3 years
was to teach a new theme each year. By then I felt I had a pretty good
handle on what each grade level was capable of, plus I had begun to develop
some lessons that you just "have" to teach each year. After 9 years I now
have different cultures I share with specific grades, specific artists we
study each year, and then I leave it open as new ideas develop. Pros to
teaching themes: Ease of visuals - can use one visual for many different
lessons, more focused ideas - you know what "theme" you are doing so you
will focus on that one aspect and look for ways to vary lessons from grade
to grade, student knowledge - they should have a definate grasp of the
theme's subject when you are finished. Cons - Can YOU stay interested
teaching one thing 8 different times/ways? No room for new ideas - it's hard
for your lessons to naturally flow if you are teaching "polar bears" and you
suddenly get fascinated with art cars. Ideas - it is hard to come up with 8
variations on a single theme.
So, having done both ways, is one way better than another? No, do what feels
best. I did multi-cultural one year and it didn't take me long to drop 1st
and 2nd grade from the theme. They don't have a grasp of what a city vs.
state vs. country is yet, so they really missed the entire point of learning
about other countries. It's hard to teach the concept of Japanese Fish Kites
when all the kids see is a big purple fish with streamers. You can have alot
of fun with the older grades tho. Know what you want them to know, then
develop your lessons.
K-12 Kansas Art Teacher
> On another note, I am wondering if changing my theme
> each year is such a good idea?. I have just finished
> my second year of teaching and thought that I would
> have a new theme each year, or at least rotate between
> several different themes over several years. What do
> you see as being the pros and cons of this strategy?
> Would it be better for the kids if I just picked one
> good theme and stuck to it? I'm sure it would be a
> lot easier to plan from year to year if I did. Please
> let me know your thoughts/experiences on the subject.
> Thanks in advance to everyone who will respond to my
> cry for help.