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[teacherartexchange] Home Stretch


Date: Thu Mar 02 2006 - 05:08:17 PST

Hey guys,
I'm happy to report that there are only two days left to this third
nine weeks, and somehow I survived. It wasn't easy at all, and I never
did get a handle on these kids...unfortunately. If I look for
something positive in it, I can say that the experience has forced me
to learn how to let some things go, and they did enjoy their final
project. I had them create Frida Kahlo-inspired self-portraits, which
they glued to the back of a cardboard frame. The frames were a pain
for me to cut and assemble, but the kids enjoyed painting them, and I
have to say that some came out really nicely. This group was so
unmotivated that I never even had any quality work to hang up...until
now, when it's too late.

Anyway, I have this weekend to think about how to structure my last
nine weeks. I have to believe that this next group of middle school
will be better. They cannot be any worse! I'm thinking that I'm not
going to even attempt teaching value or shading techniques. I'm also
thinking that I might need to structure it more as a lecture based
class. I know that it won't be as fun for them, but I just don't think
that these kids can handle the freedom. Perhaps if my class is
structured more like their other academic classes, with notetaking and
frequent quizzes, they will treat it more like a real class? I was
all about letting them jump in there and create projects, but it really
didn't work well. The kids were absolutely wild. I need to tame them.
  I'd like to start off the class by talking about art and why it's
important, etc...Perhaps I need to come up with a good powerpoint with
pictures and examples...maybe starting from Cave art and moving through
today...emphasizing that art is communication, a part of history. I
don't know.

I will have nine weeks to pack as much in as possible. The last
assignment for the group I have now is a reflection on the class. I'm
asking them about their favorite and least favorite projects, how the
class could be better, and how they felt about the class in general.
I've received a few papers already. Many enjoyed the last project.
They all hated the Bearden-inspired collage project (go figure). Some
liked the surreal project because they could kind of draw anything they
liked. The only complaints I've received have mostly been about the
behavior of the kids and how I need to find a better way to discipline
because it was hard to learn with the class being so disruptive.

I really want to end this year on a better note. I'm forcing myself to
stay positive and have a good attitude about it. I really want to feel
like I got something right by the end of the year. I'm trying not to
get frustrated with myself for not "getting it" already. I figure that
it will just take time.

So, things I definitely want to keep in the next nine weeks: Picasso,
surrealism, Frida Kahlo, the edible color wheel...and I really can't
say that any of the other projects were overly successful. I haven't
been able to get my students to create a good collage yet, and the
still life drawing was a disaster. I'm thinking that I need some kind
of theme to connect everything...communication? I just got a good
video on Chuck Close and one of Keith Haring that I want to watch. I'd
still like to include Bearden, but the kids really didn't enjoy the
collage I need a new angle.

Any ideas? Thanks guys :)


Stacie D.

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