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Lesson Plans

Return of Symbolic Migration Monarchs

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Scurfield (scurfield)
Sat, 01 May 1999 23:51:31 -0500

Dear Journey North,

We just received our butterflies and I must say I was somewhat
disheartened. For months now I have been extolling the praises of this
program to anyone who would listen. I spent quite a bit of my own time
trying to follow the directions to the letter and the monarchs which we
sent were original creations, painted with tempera paint on construction
paper and cut out, each child's name was typed onto a label with the
school address and a message in Spanish was also printed onto labels and
affixed to the back of each monarch. I have been accessing your website
and was excited by the variety of artwork shown there--the piles of
butterflies at the warehouse in Minnesota and especially the children of
Mexico holding the vast variety of paper butterflies. With such
anticipation of receiving gorgeous butterflies in every type of media
from all over the United States and Mexico, please imagine my dismay
when I opened the packages and found that most of our butterflies were
colored photocopies from only one region of Mexico!

I am curious. Didn't your packers mix up the butterflies so that the
recipients would receive butterflies from different parts of Mexico as
well as different parts of the US? Apparently not, as the messages in
the Lost and Found indicate. Beverly Boyer's first grade class from
Oklahoma seems to have received a similar batch to ours. However,
Kathie de Russey's entries are to different schools around the US. I'm
just glad I opened these up ahead of time so I can think of what to tell
my two fifth grade art classes. They weren't that happy about sending
"their" butterflies off in the first place, but I assured them that it
would be great fun to see all the different ways that children
interpreted the assignment. Instead, we receive colored photocopies,
which all year long I have been telling them is not the same as original
art. You have really put me in a quandry, but it may turn out to be an
opportunity to discuss the advantages and disadvantages to original vs
reproduced art.

The Mexican people have such a wonderful variety of art and craft
forms--Oaxacan animals, Huichol yarn painting, etc. Are they teaching
their children that coloring a photocopied sheet is the same as creating
original art? I doubt it. More likely, as in the US, some classroom
teachers feel inadequate with their ability to create art, so in order
to get a "nice" product they resort to photocopies.

In general, I do think that the Journey North program is outstanding and
when our schools have greater access to the internet next year, I want
them to become more involved with the challenge questions, etc.

I don't mean to be a wet blanket and honestly can't even imagine what a
job it was to pack up all those butterflies to return to the classes. I
feel that once again I am a victim of my own high expectations.

Marcia Scurfield
Clark Elementary School
7000 Cottonwood
Wichita, KS 67207