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Kids are great

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From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Mar 06 2005 - 10:54:24 PST


I'm doing a lot of time wasting today because I'm still reeling from my
move to a new building. I'm trying to concentrate on how lucky I am and
putting away the problems all new buildings pose. I am very lucky. I
have a an entire "art hall" -- 4 beautiful huge rooms -- a photo room,
a ceramics/crafts room, a Fine arts room, and a computer lab equipped
with an interactive whiteboard. When I read about "art on a cart" and
being stuck in rooms ill -equipped to deal with art, I am so grateful.
And my administration is proud, too. This is one of the first places
they bring the visitors. I have high ceilings and walls of windows and
an incredible amount of storage.

I spent a lot of time designing these rooms, and although I was assured
"not to worry" certain things could be better. For the past few months
I have been going in and checking on progress and I'm lucky that I had
easy access to the construction manager to correct things before we
moved.
Yet move we did and my darkroom still isn't ready.

So hear is what I have to say--

Kids came back to school this past Wed. My photo kids were very
anxiously awaiting the new photo facilities. The darkroom is fabulous
-- I have space and equipment most colleges don't have. But it's not
done yet and we can't use the darkroom yet.

I spent a whole snow day coming up with things the kids could do
without the darkroom. But then decided to let them make their own list.
On the first day back I explained the situation and presented the
problem -- What can we do without the darkroom?
They were fabulous and got right to the brainstorming. They came up
with lots of ideas, including written stuff that I would never think
would come from a kid. One kid made a film drying cabinet out of the
coat closet. Some girls came up with more efficient use of the sink
space. And that was icing on the cake for all the "out of darkroom"
project ideas they had. None were sitting around saying we have
nothing to do.

Given a choice, kids can invent the choices. They took on the problem
as much as I. They didn't whine and complain, they found solutions.
They truly enjoyed the problem to solve. They fueled all my ideas and
had many of their own.
Kids want to "own." They want to know they have solutions. I'm very
glad I turned this lesson over to them. It became something they had to
do, not something I had to provide. The kids were very gracious and
they tackled the task... and they were more wise than I.

Sometimes I want to tell teachers to trust the kids more.
Deviate from your plan
I hope I gave a lesson in "what do you do when you can't do what you
hoped to do" It was all positive and even the kids that are "trouble"
pitched in.

Just some weary thoughts after a long week

Patty

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