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Lesson Plans

Re: Gangs and Junior High Kids

From: artteacher25
Date: Wed May 31 2000 - 00:19:12 PDT

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    I teach high school, ages 13-25. Approximately 75% of the students are currently in gangs or are trying to get out and make a better life. Understanding and respecting the fact that their gang comes first is the first step to 'getting in' with them. They have all heard before that gangs are not the answer and will most likely kill you. They need a reason to get out - to see the light, if you will.
    I am the first art teacher at my school and already the staff and faculty have noticed a difference in the students. Their attitudes have changed now that they are able to express themselves without being ridiculed. Yes, I do set boundaries on what is acceptable art and what is not - gang colors, hand gestures, etc. One way to get it out of their system which works for me: The first day I introduce the class I give them a free draw period. They can draw anything school appropriate or not. That is their one and only chance to get it out of their system, after that if I see it they get an in-school suspension. Of course having the prinicpals backing helps tremendously.
    As art teachers, I feel we are an important key to unlocking and opening many students minds.

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