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Lesson Plans

Re: artsednet-digest V2 #1277

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sat, 6 Mar 1999 22:17:32 EST

Hi! Linda and everyone else. I have been working my socks off for the last
two months. That's the last time I have had time to even contribute to this
chat room, but I love reading all the news from everyone else. I asked for
help with my course proposal for the University of Phoenix titled "Teaching
Math Through Art." You were all very helpful in helping me find materials. I
have taught the course once, (teachers get 3 units for a weekend course and
then have to write a major unit which they send to me 2 1/2 weeks later the
course is over). I thought the class turned out great and I received many
favorable evaluations from my students. I have also been busy because besides
my regular job as a full time elementary art teacher, I have taught elementary
art courses for several schools eight out of the last ten weekends.

Concerning the comment that students without an elementary background in art
can do just fine if you expect them to do well, just begs for a comment by me.
I have dedicated my life to teaching elementary art to students for the last
36 years. If what you expect is just product, then not having an elementary
experience in art is just fine. However, I hope that is not what an education
in any of the arts is about. I have always thought that it is not my job to
create artists who create products, one can do that on one's own. I believe
that it is my job to get my students to think like an artist: to create, to
solve problems in unique ways, to adjust to roadblocks, to brainstorm, to
persevere, to imagine, to appreciate the contributions all creative people who
are now living around the world or who have ever lived on this earth, to be
proud of themselves and to have hope for the future. The art room is a
magical place where everything is possible. Yes, we use art media and we
learn techniques, but that in not, in my opinion, the most important thing
that happens in the art room. It's kind of like physical education, it is
exercise for the brain and the imagination, something that prepares students
for their future. Therefore, I think that the education that a child receives
in the elementary art room is not only important to the middle school art
room, but to all of one's future classes, not just to art; and to rest of
one's life in general. I think that it is important that all elementary
students have this experience and that those who do not are deprived.

Reading all the horrible stories about what elementary art teachers have to
put up with, and being there most of the years that I have taught art is very
disturbing. But, we are out there doing it and putting up with it, because we
know that we have to hang on, or the students will not even have any
experience in art, or even worse will have detrimental experiences taught by
well-meaning people, like teachers who have no background in the arts and who
do recipe lessons or art masterpiece parents only interested in a successful
product. If only, some famous educational researcher would come into the
elementary art room for a year and see what really goes on in the little time
that we have with students, he or she would be singing our praises.

I do my best to spread the word about the importance of art for elementary
students by teaching many classes to the classroom teacher that emphasizes the
importance of the visual arts for students. I am also Arizona's Elementary
Division Chair for our state association. Many times over the years I get
discouraged, but when I think about the students and what I see happening when
they are involved with art, I keep on working in their behalf. I started as a
classroom teacher, and a couple of times over the years when I became
discouraged, I transferred back to the classroom. But, then I would realize
that I have a gift for teaching elementary art and I would go back to it,
terrible conditions and all. I really believe that we need to let people know
the importance of what takes place in the elementary art room and someday our
day will come. I really do believe that the tide is about to change and that
we will become rediscovered. I invite the teacher who thinks that it is not
important if middle school students come to her with an elementary art
experience to come to my room and observe for a week, and see if she still
believes that way. I believe that she would change her mind and agree that it
is important for all children to have an elementary art experience.