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advocacy advice

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From: Kathleen Clunk (k_clunk_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Oct 13 2001 - 14:04:29 PDT


I've been asked to present a brief demonstration of an art technique to our
school board on Mon. 15 Oct. The entire presentation is only supposed to
take 20 min. My principal suggested leaf printing, but after previewing the
board room(wall-to-wall carpeting, no water facility nearby), I decided
against that one! Instead, I am presenting a few simple weaving techniques
with fourth, fifth and sixth graders. I will be talking while they work,
about how important weaving is to history and civilization, and generally
how weaving helps to apply many academic skills such as measuring in math,
cultural understanding in social studies, direction-following and vocabulary
development, eye-hand coordination, etc. I'll give the board members
magnifying glasses and have them look at their clothing to see the warp and
weft and remind them if it had not been for weaving being developed we'd all
be there dressed in animal skins or leaves.(I do this to motivate my classes
before we begin a weaving unit.) I remember reading somewhere about
research has been done that shows how engaging in activities with our hands
helps to stimulate the brain in ways that actually increase intelligence and
learning capacity in other areas. Have any or you seen this research or
know about it? I figure that if I can show how art is important to areas
that they think are more meaningful, I'll do a lot to advocate my program
and hopefully avoid being cut from the curriculum somewhere down the road!
As far as I know, they aren't anticipating that, but I still feel that this
is my big chance to have a captive audience and promote the arts in public
education to the "John Q. Six-pack" type who wound consider them a frill.
I'd appreciate any info any of you might have. Thanks!

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