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I think most of would agree with you that copying adult art and using
coloring books as an art lesson is a waste of the children's time and
potentially detrimental to the creative development of our students.
Sidnie may be very fortunate to have had a mother who recognized the
"dangers" of coloring books, but like Sidnie, I don't take it too seriously
as long as there are quality art experiences happening in the child's life
to counter these other "evils". I DO think the art room is the place for
the quality artistic experiences! Children love to copy and use coloring
books, and I try not to worry too much about that if there is enough good
stuff to balance it.
As a kid, I was allowed to use coloring books (and my mother had a degree
in art education!) using coloring books,my mother taught me how to mix
color by gently layering..she taught me how to shade the objects in the
coloring books (using my pack of 64 with the built in shapener) to give
them more depth. I loved it! And I think I turned out OK. I actually am
more concerned with some of the social messages that these images give the
children...the violence of the Power Rangers, the fairytale life of the
large busted,long-legged Barbie... and all of that.
I do like the Anti-coloring Books. There are also art history coloring
books that are "kinda cool". But my favorite coloring book is the one that
my Montessori Kindergarteners made themselves. Each child drew a few line
drawings (without filling in the interiors). I xeroxed 25 of each and we
bound them and they colored and loved it! They also felt free to add to
their friends' and their own drawings with black marker and then color some
more! It was a nice a project. I also typed up a note to put inside each
book explainin to the parents the many reasons why our own coloring book
was better that a store bought one! It was definately a "guilt-free
coloring book" for this art teacher.