quoting " I do disagree in one area. I do strive to have completed
pieces of work after the first two six weeks."
Jackie, don't get me wrong. I do firmly believe that middle school
students need to explore and experience both content and media, but
that is not to say we don't strive for "proficiency" or to "finish".
Too often now I think "we" make them choose so much younger what their
focus, major, direction will be in....if you chose choir it is year
long so no art or drama, if you chose college bound tack, etc.
But it is about balances and choices.
I don't expect them to have already found their media and/or style. I
try to facilitate their quest for that. If I choose to leave out an
experience because the choice is to focus on drawing for 6 weeks who
do I lose? Will they produce amazing drawings? many will, but then do
I leave out (because of time or supplies or other reasons) printmaking
or clay or painting that may very well be "the" thing for a student or
that will show the varied ways and means art can be produced?! Does
that then say that one media or focus is more important than another?
and that I get to chose which are?
I guess I am just typing out loud right now as these are things I ask
myself and my students daily. They come from varied expediences in
art (we don't have elementary art educators) and because of my
schedule I could have a second semester 8th grader who hasn't had art
since the first quarter of 6th grade. But then I also know that they
have been trying their hand at other things!
I want them to start to see, to start to work as an artist, to start
to make choices about content and which media would convey that idea
best. That doesn't mean at this stage I leave them out on their own.
I try to plan, help them through media and techniques and open up
opportunities for them......
So while I want them to strive towards "proficiency" and I know how
proud they feel with a successful work, I also want them to realize
that (as it is posted in our studio from Art and Fear) "The function
of an overwhelming portion of your artwork is to simply teach you to
make a small fraction of your work that soars." And hopefully the art
show looks authentic and reflects their pursuits and risk
taking...even if they haven't reached "excellence" ...yet :-)
Our school focus is from Berger's book "An Ethic of Excellence:
Building a Culture of Craftsmanship in Schools" so I will continue to
question, struggle, discuss, wonder, try..........
with apologies for getting long winded so early in the morning <grin>
creatively, Linda in Oregon