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A Different Filter on the Worm situation

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From: Amanda Linn (toasterart_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Mar 15 2004 - 08:47:56 PST


Forgive me if someone else has already presented this
idea-

So the worm activity appears in science textbooks-
THANK GOODNESS the science classes still use living
things to catch the interest of young students-
potential doctors. I love my art kids, but if I'm
facing an organ transplant, I don't want to look up
and see one of them smiling back at me as I'm slipping
into the ether.

I would imagine if you just let kids run willy nilly
around the art room with worms and paint- some worms
would get injured. BUT if the activity were presented
in a meaningful way, facilitated by a great teacher,
probably in a group situation- some real learning
would occur- and not just "hey Mom, today in art class
we painted with worms" BUT "Mom, today in art class,
we watched a worm move. She wiggled through paint and
I saw what it looks like when she moves. We all
imitated the movement of the worms with our bodies,
then we went back to our tables and made some marks
just like the worm did- and we wrote a story about a
worm, telling about what we saw the worm paint, then
we talked about if a worm is an artist- I said no,
because the worm is just moving around, when I make a
painting, I use my brain! and THEN we got to hold a
worm and our teacher showed us how to be really
careful not to hurt the worm because worms are very
fragile, they are little but they are just as alive as
me."

Process the activity- Experiential Learning Cycle- A
Powerful thing! t.s. eliot said "We had the
experience, but we missed the meaning" How often do we
make time to process the learning?

So now, when a child sees a washed up worm on the
sidewalk- she hopefully will look at that worm
differently. She has interacted with a worm, smelled a
worm, moved like a worm, tried to think like a worm,
she has SLOWED down long enough to consider a worm.
She has been shown how to handle a fragile living
thing like a worm. Substitute elderly person, person
of color, gay person, handicapped person, person of a
different religion for worm.

So maybe the worm thing can be good?

Besides, when the children leave your class they are
going to the lunchroom to eat a hot dog that was
created at the expense of who knows what living thing.

There's the real problem.

Amanda

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When most women were eating matchstick thin slices of carrots- my mother was eating matchsticks- Augusten Burroughs

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