We have a pretty small school, and most of our MS teachers are strong in
other areas (Language Arts has a science minor, math's is music, music is
science... and on and on.) As a group of teachers, they are very
supportive, but I am looking for something more formal, permanent.
The fine line I am encountering lately is balancing between getting art 'out
there' and doing my job. Do I turn down the science teacher that is doing
simple machines when we can work together on kinetic sculptures and motion
machines? What about when he starts light and reflection and comes to me
for info on kaleidoscopes? Do I let him walk out the door, or do I welcome
his questions and grab stuff together during my planning? (and kaleidoscope
poetry for the LA teacher... ) What about the math teacher that invites me
into a 7th grade room to do a lesson on perspective drawing and dilation
(proportion and enlargements)? they don't know what they don't know -
unless I tell them - HAHAHAHAH!!! I've really got to sell myself (read
'art') - but it gets to be too much - I can either laugh about it, and
explain or explode. If I'm going to explode, I close the door. The other
day I told one teacher they were the 12 in my room in a matter of 3 hours.
They know. So what's the plus side? If I have a class, I only stop to help
if they are working on something, it's only a couple of minutes - but I get
to tell them how art relates to what Mr. M. is working on in his class, or
Mrs. P. - I take it as a teachable moment. Good PR.
I sent a post before about creative scheduling and inclusion of the arts
teacher into 'common planning time'. I didn't get any responses that I
could use with my principal. He is aware of what I would like to see -
total integration - but he doesn't know how to do it. He did offer to let
me teach with the Language Arts and Social Studies teacher as a team -
because they are loosey goosey subjects - Arghhhhh! The funny thing is, I
am a math teacher and very interested in the sciences. (I used to teach
Language Arts too... but not Social Studies - I have never been associated
with Social Studies, I have never bonded with Social Studies - get the
so I am working on a new plan...
Just this year we have gained 3 new teachers that have changed the dynamics
of some of the grades. Several teachers have been meeting as a study group
- researching constructivism. We are looking into vertical teaming as
opposed to grade group teaming. Now I am going for being a member of a team
that has common methods/practices.
My principal's answer is that the PE teacher gets along fine just being in
the gym - he doesn't feel the need to share - nor does the music teacher and
so on. In other words - he is very sympathetic and open to my suggestions,
but he doesn't know what to do about it.
My husband teacher a K-1 class here. He is a Presidential Award winner in
science... and we do a lot together (for school!) - people get to see how we
incorporate the two subjects - and we have come up with many art based
performance assessments. You know how juvenile teachers can be - if someone
else has it/does it etc - they want to too. So anyone that is trying to do
the same, maybe start with one teacher and work from there.
And as far as 'borrowing' supplies - HAHA - borrowing consumables - that's
an oxymoron, right? I offered to order a classroom set of markers etc, for
MS and they can pass it around. I put extra on the student supply list and
collect it at the beginning of the year, I help go through the bid list with
interested teachers and point out the supplies they need in their room (the
biggest help) - but I can spare some paper - I'm funny about paint - I have
cheaper brushes to loan out - it has gotten much better.
But most of all, it's not us and them (math can be fun and creative, and so
can science), and we really don't teach art - or kids - we value sharing
knowledge - art, music, math - okay even social studies (smile) - with
people of all ages. So I've got to make it work.
so Rob - I continue to battle in the name of art (okay that sounds a little
like 'us and them' )- I take any and every chance I can get to connect it to
other subjects. Where to draw the line? At personal favors (can you draw
this?... Yes - and so can you, let me show you.), book report covers and
science fair lettering.