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Lesson Plans

this and that

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Fri, 19 Jul 1996 16:10:00 -0500 (CDT)

To Vance, re: Emperor's New Clothes
I was going to respond, but Kathrine Walker said exactly what I intended to
say, so...ditto! I, too, believe that what we are trying to do is to educate
people to make their own INFORMED judgements. A really good question to ask
kids is "Do you think everyone's opinion about art is equally valid? That
is, do you believe in "expert opinion?" (Be sure to remove all sharp objects
first - this can become a very heated debate!)
To Ticia, re: portfolios
I teach 300+ students in grades 1-8. Each student creates a portfolio the
first day of class. All work remains in the folder until the end of the
school year, when the students take them home. (Exceptions are 3-D and
oversized pieces and stuff that's up on the walls.) I can't imagine trying
to teach without using portfolios. Students who do not finish a piece know
they can return to it at a later date. Conversely, a student who finishes a
project early may work on a "free" drawing or something from his/her
portfolio. Sometimes kids will keep very involved free drawings in their
folders and work on them for months. When I grade, I can see the whole
picture - not just a series of grades. Maybe a child has a persistant
problem or a particular strength which surfaces sporadically. Perhaps his
craftsmanship has improved steadily or her grasp of concepts has gotten
stronger. I can select the student's best works for the spring show or
contests, and I have instant documentation when a parent visits. Artworks
don't arrive home crumbled in the bottom of a bookbag, and if parents want
to see a piece, the student always has access.
As for mechanics: We simply fold a piece of 18"x24" white tagboard in half
hamburger fold. Using the fold as the "bottom" of the cover, children place
their names in the lower left-hand corner, followed by their grade and
teacher's initial. Then they are free to draw anything they wish on the
cover, using any dry, permanent medium. Each class has a special place on my
shelves with the corresponding grade and initial. If portfolios are filed
with the folded edge out, it is very easy for even the youngest child to
find their own work. Sometimes we simply stack unfinished projects on the
portfolios and file them when we move to the next unit. It really does not
take up that much space. I know teachers who do "art on a cart" who simply
have the classroom teacher store the folders. Once you use portfolios, I
know you'll wonder how you got along without them.
To everyone: I read a really great book on my recent trip. It's entitled
"Believing Is Seeing - Creating the Culture of Art" by Mary Anne
Staniszewski. It's a very quick, enjoyable read and filled with interesting
points. I highly recommend it.

Eileen Prince
Sycamore School