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RE: Please read this from Patty Knott


From: Hillmer, Jan (hillmjan_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Jul 19 2003 - 14:50:16 PDT

Oh, Patty. Just when I was starting to bum about not fitting in with the rest of my Fine Arts staff, not to mention the rest of the faculty, you come along. *Sigh* Thank you.
 The stages of development are important . Remember when (if) your kids were very little and you thought you could buy toys 6 mos. or a year older than they actually were, and that your kids were so advanced that they'd enjoy them right away. Of course, mostly, they didn't. Every opportunity opened is one for art - the kids need each one we can find to gift them with!

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Judy Decker []
        Sent: Sat 7/19/2003 4:09 PM
        To: ArtsEdNet Talk
        Subject: Please read this from Patty Knott

        Sorry ArtsEdNetters, I am reposting in case you didn't catch the original
        subject heading from Patty was important. I ALWAYS read everything Patty
        writes. This was much more than an art quote.
        I spent sooo long trying to say what I wanted to say and Patty, the
        BRILLIANT one, has said it so well. Thank you Patty for saying what I
        didn't know how to say - but it was on my mind. I know you folks don't mind
        that I decided to send it anyway. I just got back in from talking to my
        husband about all this that was on my mind - we had a laugh or two.
        I guess what has really been "eating away at me" is that my former school
        has cut art from the middle school curriculum (that was my job).....I know
        ART is the important subject for many of those kids. I will get "over it".
        .......And lo and behold - Patty posts this gem:
>>My research indicates that the most crucial time for
>>art is between the ages of 11-15--- middle school
        The entire message from Patty:
        I just do my homework. I am possessed with research and I think that is
        something that should be a rule for teachers --- don't let "it" get beyond
        you, keep up with what is going on. There is a lot of crap to weed through
        and mostly it's "what 's new is old again." But you have to be on top of
        things in order to argue and defend.
        I was a child of the 50's when Lowenfeld was the model, and you know what
        --- lot's of experts are saying let's revisit Lowenfeld. As we have become
        immersed in DBAE and Standards we have forgotten the stages of development
        and maybe failure in art comes from expectations that are not
        developmentally valid. My research indicates that the most crucial time for
        art is between the ages of 11-15--- middle school --- where what do they
        get? A marking period at the most? So then I get them in high school with
        certain expectations and they don't have it.
        Judy and I have had a bit of a private discussion about grading. (Judy, I
        hope you don't mind, but I have something to say) I, in my 10 years, have
        maybe failed a handful of kids (I teach high school) Those kids were
        problems beyond what I can do. I will never penalize a kid that tries. The
        expectation may not come close to my rubric, but the doing something is not
        a failure. I have wonderful rubrics, but my heart always gives the kid a
        break. (And I only say that because I work with somebody who will never give
        an A because they couldn't be that good) I don't understand the standards---
        what is proficiency in art? I'm 51 years old and I ain't proficient.
        I guess I think our job as art teachers is to provide experiences that are
        not Standard. We are different, we don't "fit." We need to celebrate and
        advocate that we are different and not try to fit the mold. I guess I'm
        just asking that you not try to fit into a 'way" but trust your instincts as
        artists and make the "way." The only way we will survive is by being
        leaders, not followers, by trusting the instincts that made us artists in
        the first place, and by recognizing all those kids that just don't fit. And
        give all of them the opportunity to just express.
        The best thing that keeps me going are the kids that come back to me and
        thank me for just giving them the space to say what they need to say. They
        may remember some of the of the standards crap I gave them, but mostly they
        remember that I gave them freedom.
        That's my lesson to myself.
        Back to Judy .... From now on I will leave the figuring out what is wrong to
        someone else (smile). Patty, I think we are on the same page as far as
        grading goes. I am glad I did talk about how I felt - I needed that. I will
        be over all of this soon -- smile. I will just go back to "my job" of making
        your job easier. Just too much thinking today. I found my way to teach by
        discovering that other people's way didn't work for me or my students.
        I haven't kept up with the research. I am glad I wasn't too far off base.
        Judy Decker - Ohio
        Incredible Art Department
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