My favorite workshop at the NJ convention was the one given by Sharon
Henneborn. It was about presenting art works to students so that the
students could bring their own personal thoughts and experiences to the
piece being discussed . The idea is to listen to the children instead of
having them listen to you. Maybe this sounds obvious but I think I have
been too eager to blab away about the paintings, the time in which they were
painted, who the artist was and on and on.
Today I tried this new approach with my fifth graders. I showed them some
Japanese woodcuts. I got the most wonderful, thoughtful and even surprising
responses. One boy said the streaks of rain in one print may have been done
that way because that was the way the artist saw them in the woodblock.
Another girl said the cat at the window looked as if it were yearning to be
outside and free.
I am so glad I got to attend this workshop and use what I learned.