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My teaching situation is very similar to yours here in sunny, strange
California. I teach mid. school also with 7-week rotations of all the 6th
graders, 7-wks. rotations for all of 7th (this totals 4 classes a day) plus
two full semester classes a day which have mixtures of 7th and 8th graders.
The rotations change 5x's during the yr.
Since there is only one of me (only art teacher) for 1200 students, it
would be impossible to have all our students taking art at some point for a
semester in their mid. school career. I see the exploratory idea, at least
in my situation, making the most workable solution for the masses. At least
I get to see all the students in the school sometime during their 6th AND
7th grade yrs. (whether they..and me...wanna or not!) True, we can't get
much accomplished in such a short timeframe but at least 3 projects a yr.
are better than a lot of the kids getting none.
I have many other electives to compete with...woodshop, chorus, drama,
foods, computers, environmental studies, foreign languages, band, reading
for enjoyment, blah, blah...but at least I get a chance to toot my horn for
my "baby" and get them "hooked". So far, knock on wood, I've drawn the most
students from these exploratories for my electives, thank goodness. I might
not be winning the war but I'm chalking up the little everyday battles of
getting art to be "important" at our school. I feel so lucky that MY
elective is so visual and "showy", if you'll pardon the use of that word,
that it makes my elective so enticing. I'd really hate to be teaching one
of the other electives and compete with me!
Our school of 1200 fits into a school built for 750. I don't see any big
plans down the road for any changes...except maybe for more growth...so
knowing that, our solution by exploratories works the best. Let me know if
anyone comes up with a better answer...I'd sure like to know one!!!!
AND...my biggest problem? Learning 140 new names every 7 weeks! By the 3rd
rotation, I've forgotten mine! Cya.......
Los Cerros Middle School
Danville, California 94526