The response to my original posting, copied at the end of this message, has
been quite interesting, and I have enjoyed reading all the different points
of view, local expectations and requirements. I only posted it because I know
there are support teachers who are supposed to do this sort of thing, and I
wanted to share some ideas. Writing has not taken over my art classes; it is
just enough to satisfy the requirement that there is some writing in all of
our classrooms. My students love it because they expect to write in every
class and this stuff is fun. They love sharing what they have written. And,
yes, our PE teacher does write: everyone does.
And I love working with teachers across the curriculum, in both my system and
others, and turning them on to using art in their classrooms: most have never
thought of it.
This is a joy compared to some of the other things I have to do:
I have to go to one 5th grade teacher's room every day at 11:30, so she can
take a break. Some days she is ready to go. I have had to wait 10 minutes for
her to get ready for her 10 minute break.
On Tuesdays I have to do to a 3rd grade teacher's classroom and sit with her
literature circles to make sure they are on task while she does guided
reading with the rest of the students. She has these students every day. I
have them once a week, sometimes doing 3 or 4 different things, with no
At any time, I can be called to go to a teacher's classroom and take over for
her if she has a parent conference, whatever.
This is true of all support teachers. Why do they use us this way? To keep
from taking the teacher assistants out of the classrooms during instructional
time. This is my 32nd year teaching and, probably, makes me one of the
highest paid baby-sitters in the state. The principal blocked our schedules
so that we are available to do these things. I wish all that was expected of
me was to show up and teach art. . . . and writing.
And then there is breakfast duty, bus duty, public bulletin boards, etc.,
etc., etc, No, we don't have a union, and our contracts are not worth the
paper they are written on. But NC is on the cutting edge of a lot of things
and frequently mentioned by national leaders, so. . . . My system has been a
pilot program for many things that are just getting to other states. I have
seen lots of things come and go. We have more things coming; none going. The
next thing we have to start doing, system mandate, is using tiered lesson
plans and differentiated instruction. All strategies for reaching students at
all levels of ability. Now, I am venting.
If any of you are under the gun to address school-wide goals (and it seems
everyone is in some way), please visit my site for some writing and art
ideas. I have more that I plan to add when I have time. As with most art
activities, they can be adapted up and down the grades. Any materials can be
used/substituted, and most will apply to various art skills or can be adapted
in this way to meet your needs as an art teacher as well.