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Re: artsednet digest: October 21, 2000

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From: Gabrielle Prandoni (gprandon_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Oct 22 2000 - 03:15:16 PDT


>>Why would we expect less from our students writing in the art room than
>from
>>an academic classroom?
>
>As a former third grade teacher, I would like to add my voice here. It is
>true that children are able to respond with some fantastic thoughts when
>they are not constrained by spelling, grammer, etc. But we are also trying
>to teach them to communicate and create writing that others will
understand.
>One of the biggest problems we face with younger students is to teach them
>to do this properly. I know - the Art teacher is not the English teacher.
>But we can help students paint with words, too. It's more work, but when my
>students are going to exhibit writing, it has to be edited. By all means,
>give them free reign to write; then have them go back and edit their
>writing. It reinforces the skills they need to develop and shows them that
>writing counts in all areas. In the process, they learn to be more
>expressive.

Interesting discussion. One of our county wide objectives is to improve
writing skills. I have writing included in some part of each lesson. There
is a writing component on the rubric I use. The students must answer in
complete sentences. For one specific lesson during each quarter, they are
given a writing prompt with a specific idea to follow. The writing takes
many forms: friendly letter, essay, or directions on how to complete a task.
We follow the complete writing process which includes peer editing, and then
teacher editing. Believe it or not errors still exist after all this
review. I display the work with the errors, because I feel this can be a
learning to tool for the rest of the staff. There is nothing more
informative than a visual image along with a writing sample to see where
strengths and weaknesses exist. I usually email the principal, v.p., and
team leader with a note stating that the work has been through the editing
process, that errors exist, and the work will be corrected before it is
returned to the students. I do not think it is helpful to the students to
have a writing sample displayed with red marks all over it, or a grade on
the work.

On Friday I was asked by a sixth grader why they had to write in Art? There
seemed to be a minor rebellion stirring. I explained that artists have to
be able to articulate what they are doing in an artists statement. That I
have had work rejected from shows because a statement was not submitted with
the work. I reassured them that writing is a difficult task when you are
trying to tell about your own work, but that the more you do it, the easier
it becomes.
Gabrielle