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Re: [teacherartexchange] African Unit suggestions


Date: Sun Jul 31 2005 - 08:55:13 PDT

-----Original Message-----
From: Deb <>

 << Connecting is a big
issue for me as a teacher as i work in an area ( not kent)where
students and the
community actively resist engaging in the learning process. I've been
teaching 21
years and it's getting worse. I would like to know how you and others
or what
you and others are doing to connect. >>

It is my belief that we need to connect to the students and provide
them with the opportunity to use the information we share in school for
their own purposes. As Eisner says (paraphrase) we want students to do
well in life, rather than just well in school. So, going back to the
Big Ideas discussion, we try to get to essences. When I introduce my
mask center the discussion is the essence of masks: masks can hide you/
tell people about you, masks can be ugly/beautiful, scary/funny, part
of a costume, part of a job uniform, realistic/fantasy, a story telling
tool, a decoration, a religious artifact, part of theater performance,
and so on. Next question: what do these various masks have in common?
One answer, perhaps, exaggeration...color....etc. Next question: what
are some ways a mask could be created? (papier mache, plaster, a box, a
bag, face paint, etc etc) Next question: what sort of mask are you
interested in making and what is the best way to do that, to express
what you want to express? And African masks are a part of the
information to be presented...but as you have mentioned...why should
unmotivate 8th graders care a fig about them? Thinking about the
issues of 8th graders...what drives them, motivates them? How about
the masks that kids assume in school in order to be popular? Or to
rebel against authority? How about a mask expressing both insides and
outsides of a personality? Or whatever you might elicit from a
discussion of masks. What do you think?
Loving questions,
kathy douglas

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