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[teacherartexchange] elementary appropriate: monsters


From: L Mitchell (lismatisse_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun May 28 2006 - 05:32:01 PDT

I had a similar experience with a teacher who took a
child's art from them (she seemed rude when she
confronted me about it) and turned it in to the
counselor - over reacting to a picture of a plane
nearing the towers ... she thought the picture was
violent, I thought the child was working through what
had happened. If you ever have a question about a
child's work, I think it's safest to talk with the
student personally, ask him to "tell me about your
picture..." If there's a pattern, for instance
something keeps popping up, then I might conference
with the school counselor.(although my experience in
middle school was they all used symbols of one kind or
As far as what I tell my elementary students - my
typical line is it must be school appropriate (no
guns, etc) and no blood and guts. I want to believe
they're OK to make choices about their work - and I
don't want to censor their work, so after a couple of
years in a school, the kids knew what I would and
wouldn't object to. I also didn't interfere when they
had finished their project and had "free draw" time.
If you create a sense that they feel free to
communicate in your room, I believe they will create
better. This week we're finishing underwater pictures
and of course there are several that want shark
attacks, etc - so the no blood and guts approach has
worked, those really wanting to show scary sharks have
large teeth showing, possibly something in the mouth -
many small fish being chased by larger ones...but no
You'll find something that works for you - there is a
lot written on interpreting children's work, may a
book or article this summer would bring some insight.
I hope you've had a great first year teaching!
Lisa, Greensboro nC

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