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RE: argument for 7th 8th grade art

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From: C Kerch (ckerch_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Mar 20 2005 - 20:41:04 PST


I teach 5 thru 8, K & 1st Visual Art. Students in grades 5th thru 8th are
required to take an elective, therefore they have to choose between Band,
Hawaiian Music or Visual Arts. The cost for the electives varied until this
year so what I got was those students whose parents didn't want to pay $200
to take Band and Hawaiian Music plus rental fees for equipment. Visual Arts
is $100 with no extra fees so I got students in my class who didn't want to
be there but had to because their parents didn't want to pay an added
expense. Band was losing a lot of students to my program so this year it is
$200 across the board for any electives but still no extra fees for Art. My
fear is that with the change I will lose students to Band or Hawaiian Music
but I'm also confident that I will now have students in my program that want
to be and actually learn. It's very frustrating to have students in class
that don't do anything or constantly tell me how much they hate Art. I'm
praying that I maintain a good core of students who are repeats because
without a good enrollment in Art my program will be cut. So, repeat
students are a good thing. What I've done to change my program for repeat
students is this: at each grade level I have a theme. For my 5th graders I
focus on the Elements and Prinicpals of Design, drawing and painting with
tempera; 6th Grade focus is Rocco to Pop Art, painting with watercolors; 7th
Grade focus is High Renaissance to Baroque Art and painting with acrylic;
and 8th Grade is Studio Art (Plaster, Clay, Recycle Material and Painting
with Oils). At each grade level I introduce drawing at skill levels that
lead to the next grade. As my students see what the next grade level is
doing they often ask me if they can do that and my reply is when you get to
that grade level. This gives my students something to look forward to when
they get to 6th, 7th, or 8th. My repeat students are not bored and they
look forward to coming to Art.

I'm not sure if my comments will help you however I do think that offereing
each elective as a choice for students iand letting them choose to stay
there for the whole year is a lot better then splitting it and not having
enough time to reach them or teach them anything worth taking with them.

Mahalo,
Cathy
Honolulu, HI

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