Are there any other teachers from Massachusetts on the List? I would be
interested in any comments you might have in the recently sent out
revised Art Standards (The Practice of Creating). I personally think
that some of what they are asking for is not developmentally appropriate
for students to be able to comprehend by mid fourth grade year. I
strongly agree that art history should be part of every art curriculum,
but to expect that by fourth grade students will not only be able to be
able to identify and compare art indigenous to the Americas, AND the art
of the major groups which settled the Americas, BUT they should be able
to discuss/ compare/contrast the culture/art of world major cultures
including: Mesopotamia, China, Japan, India, African, Greek, Roman,
etc., etc. (basically every major world culture) is asking too much.
Yes, at an older age. But children at this age are just beginning to be
able to make connections.
I can just imagine a question on the MCAS such as "Compare and Contrast
the Arts of Greece and Rome." I recently was comparing and contrasting
the art of China with the art of the Southwest Native Americans, and
even after viewing the art, after studying the arts, and making art
based on these cultures and after students worked in groups to write
down similarities and differences, it was very difficult for them to
come up with any kind of a conclusion.
This will all be tested on the MCAS (new state tests). The new
standards for history tie in well with what is asked of the visual arts,
but the new arts standards need to be integrated more with the
curriculum in the regular classrooms for children to be able to learn
more with breadth and depth. Children need time to digest information,
and I am reworking the art curriculum to have a more spiral kind of feel
to it, but feel a little overwhelmed in trying to teach about every
major world culture's art, and have my students be able to truly compare
and contrast the arts of different cultures, all by fourth grade. And
this is just one tiny part of the new state standards. I have a
positive attitude, but as you can see am a little worried here.
Anyone have any comments?
Cynthia, South of Boston