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Re: [teacherartexchange] Top Ten Images

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From: M. Austin (whest177_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Jul 14 2005 - 07:25:02 PDT


I'm not saying that you teach those top 10, and then stop, but those are the
ones that I would be embarrassed if one of my now high school students went
to scholar's bowl and couldn't identify the Mona Lisa, after taking K-5 art.
If you look at the time frame, K-2 don't really remember any artists I
introduce - heck, they don't even recognize their own artwork that they did
the week before! *L* I don't see true understanding until 3rd grade - that
these are not just pictures, but famous artworks. So that leaves 3 years to
try to teach true knowledge. I find that I spend 6-9 weeks on VanGogh, which
is alot at the grade school level, BUT my seniors remember him - his
country, his life story, his paintings. This is the kind of true learning
that I strive for.

My classroom is plastered with reproductions of all kinds. We do discuss
them, the students are exposed to a huge variety. When we talk about
still-life vs. portrait vs. landscape, realistic vs. abstract vs.
non-objective, we use these to classify each, and great discussions happen
when you find those abstract artworks that don't neatly fit into a category.
Even tho the students see these artworks weekly, and get excited if I bring
out a similiar artwork and the students are able to tell it was by "that one
artist on your wall", they don't internalize the learning. They are aware
that there is a huge variety of artwork out there. I want my students to
know the symbols of what the world has classified as "great art". When we
discuss these artworks as the top ones our students should know, I can
visualize most of the artworks mentioned (some of the ones mentioned in the
past I had never heard of) - I want to give my students that same gift.

When my students then take middle school art and then high school art, we
begin to focus on a larger variety of artists and ideas. They can begin to
explore their own artistic development and creativity because they have the
foundation and tools to do this. They can often classify newly introduced
artworks, often stating comments like "wasn't this painting done when Munch
painted The Scream? It reminds me of that style".
~Michal
K-12 Kansas Art Teacher
http://www.geocities.com/theartkids

>I have just finished only my first year of teaching, and I am unsure, too.
>I have some thoughts on this topic, though. If all students are to learn
>about the same ten (or even one hundred) artists, then how are we, as
>teachers, exemplifying the value of diversity or creative thinking? Our
>society tends to create an "industry of fame," and I think that our
>yearning to create a "top ten list" reflects that. However, when thinking
>about the growth and learning of an individual, I'm not sure that a list of
>"must-see" artists contributes to that goal.
>
> On the flip side, in other academic disciplines, there are basic
> foundational "musts." Perhaps a "top ten list" serves as the foundation
> for creative learning and growth in art history and/or art? Maybe these
> are the rules that one must learn, before breaking them?

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