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Lesson Plans

Re: artsednet-digest V2 #308

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Emily Cooper (emcooper)
Mon, 9 Jun 1997 11:13:15 -0700

To: Massiel Arregui,
This note is in response to preferences in children's art. While I
do appreciate that you are taking the students' perspective in wanting to
provide them with their "favorites", you as their teacher have so much more
to bring to them. I agree with Henry that excitement in approaching art
does lay between the popular and the exotic but I don't think you have to be
restrained by this. Kids are used to sensory overload, use it to your
advantage as a teacher. Bring in everything. Make connections between
images, give the kids a link between something narrative and abstract. Use
a Venn diagram or some other kind of graphic organizer on the overhead and
find the connections. Most people (young or otherwise) tend to lean toward
the familiar, it's up to you to familiarize all sorts of imagery.
Personalize them, tell stories with the imagery, have them make up their own
stories. Kids accept more than most adults when it comes to abstract art,
performance art, and mixed media. They can make connections that span the
traditional art history book separations. You can bring in landscape (or
anything that shows the outdoors) imagery that is modern or post-modern,
something westerny -rennaisance/baroque, something from the far east, Maya
ruin wall paintings, anything that spans time and place. Use these images to
talk about weather, tone, horizon line, symbolism, people in the image,
(where would you be, what would you wear..) so many art
(which will help with classroom community, management issues) vs. individual
artist (personal pride). Once you've talked about a tone/feeling, you can
start bringing in both abstract and figurative or narrative stuff. As long
as kids (even really young ones) can make a connection to it, i.e. their
lives, their experiences, they can appreciate it and if they're old enough
they can write about it. Don't stop with the end of the art lesson. Use the
imagery and artmaking to enhance the rest of your curriculum. The kids will
start finding other connections, a lot of them will surprise you and help
you see in a different way...isn't that some of the joy in art anyway? Some
will like some imagery more than others, that's the beauty of art. (There's
no right answer, individual choice, etc.) If we as educators perpetuate a
hierarchy, a standard of what art is, or present art in a conventional
timeline, we are closing so many doors. If we solely bring them what they
know or what they are looking for, we run the risk of a superficial
appreciation of the power of art, we forget about anything other than a
pleasant aesthetic or alternately, the shock value, there's so much more...