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Lesson Plans

arts loss?

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Fri, 15 Mar 1996 14:59:57 -0600 (CST)


I, too, worry that in our attempts to create interdisciplinary studies, we
will lose art as a discrete discipline with a unique perspective and end up
with merely some hands-on projects for social studies and language arts -
the so-called "solid" subjects. I think that we at Sycamore School have
avoided this problem by instituting a historically driven, sequential
Humanities curriculum in our Middle School. Sycamore is a school for
academically gifted students and our Middle School starts in grade 5. Fifth
grade begins with prehistoric times and ends with the Medieval period.
Grade six moves from the Renaissance through the mid 1800's and seventh runs
from the late 1800's through the 20th Century. Eighth graders focus on a
variety of topics - in art, this is a time to deeply explore issues in
aesthetics and criticism and to work on further developing personal styles.
This structure allows the art component of the curriculum to remain true to
itself while automatically integrating it with the subjects. For example,
during the time we are exploring Greek and Roman art and culture in my
class, students are learning Greek and Roman history in Social studies,
doing simulations, reading Greek mythology, etc. in language arts and
studying the beginning of musical notation and various historic scales in
music. My culminating project becomes a hands-on result for all humanities
teachers but I don't have to sacrifice autonomy or the unique perspective of
art to achieve this integration. (The Renaissance unit is really amazing,
because even science gets into the act and we have as a speaker the doctor
who found the brain in the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Our W.W.II/Holocaust
unit is pretty special as well. Actually, they all are!) Due to the length
of my projects, I deal with Tribal cultures, Pre-Columbian North, Central
and South America, Africa,China and Japan in grade four, but the other
teachers are able to deal with them in their proper historical context. I
explore Islamic art during the Medieval unit. This approach does not seem
to stifle creativity in the least - it gives the kids a good starting point
toward developing personal style. Some continue to use tools such as
perspective or contour drawing , some don't, but the artwork is generally
more "informed" and pretty sophisticated. This is way too long, but this is
my personal soapbox issue. I love discussing my curriculum! If I totally
misinterpreted your point, I apologize. If by some miracle you want more
info, just holler! Does anybody else out there use this approach? Any
great ideas?

Art Specialist, Sycamore School, Indianapolis, Indiana

  • Maybe reply: henry: "Re: arts loss?"
  • Maybe reply: henry: "Re: arts loss?"