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Lesson Plans

A&E.A: Art & Ecology Curriculum Integration

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Kerin Allen (
Thu, 01 Oct 1998 15:53:37 -0700

Hello, fellow artists and students:
I selected Pickerington Elementary School Curriculum for my review.
I am always intrigued how other teachers organize projects that trek
students (especially 150) into the world outside the classroom. This
curriculum, coordinated by Mary Sheridan, incorporated many
enthusiastic adults from environmentalists to parent volunteers plus
artist from across the globe. The magnitude of Ms. Sheridan's
organizational capabilities must have been (and still might be)
phenomenal. Organizing students AND adults must have taken a gargantuan
effort but through her concerted efforts, she matched her students with
adult artists from all over the United States (and one in France),
creating a symbiotic partnerships that could reflect upon issues of
environmental concern. The resulting dual communication became the
unique "Environmental Issue Package Project" in which the students and
adults traded a ceramic tile, written poem or prose and a container
designed to represent wetland conservation efforts. The resulting
connections gave the third grade students a greater appreciation for
personal diversity and view points as well as a true awareness of the
global community. The project demonstrated real people, students and
adults, with valid concerns for the fragile nature of the wetlands.
The project also included treks to the wetlands where these concerns
were experienced first hand, guided by knowledgeable adults. These
field trips encouraged immersion into the environment, feeling/touching,
with discovery recorded through written or drawn documentation. This
documentation was the essential tool used by the students to communicate
their hope for future efforts towards conservation.
Of course, adaptations for my students would start with the type of
land concerns we face. Our sunny slice of heaven does not worry too
much about water but rather adaptations of a land with too little. My
students might be comparing the Sonoran desert with riparian habitats
and sky islands. They might research issues of flash flooding due to
too little vegetation and top soil run-off. Perhaps they would
calculate rainfall during each season and compare it to both sides of
Mt. Lemmon. They might be partnered with people in other desert areas
like Australia or perhaps the Arctic. Mary Sheridan's jewel of a lesson
has many facets from which to view these environmental issues and
equally as many ways of communicating the realities of the fragile earth
on which we live.
I think Ms. Sheridan and her adult entourage should receive the
highest commendations for bringing real life issues into first hand
experiences to students, be they adult or child.
Kerin Allen