I was thrilled to come across your website, "The Philosophical Forum:
Asking the Big Questions about Art." As a sixth grade English and
social studies CORE teacher (we have students for a double
period--almost 2 hours each day), our curriculum attempts to integrate
the subject matter in a format where students can critically examine
connectins between curricular areas. The curriculum also actively
involves students in the learning process and requires them to think
about and apply knowledge. It is crucial for students to understand
that studying history is not just comprehending the chronology of
events. Essential to learning is the need to expose students to the
influences which make individual cultures unique, as well as identifying
those elements which may effect other civilizations. As you said, ". .
. connect students to people and ideas of times past." Therefore, art
education is critical to the study of the ancient world.
I have read over the material in the site, and I'd like to comment on
what I see as useful and valuable elements of this site from a teacher's
perspective. My observations include the following:
-- Components of the CA History-Social Science framework and its
application to "Content Standards are clearly identified.
-- The format is easy to follow and the links clearly explain key
points and/or provide background information.
-- CLASSROOM FORUM--this could be a very valuable tool for teachers.
Critical and reflective
thinking is essential to develop in students at all levels.
-- Using Trajan as the focus of the "virtual tour" allows the person
using this site to view and/or examine the historical connections
between art and culture of Rome in the 2nd century A.D.
-- Art is often an overlooked primary source document. Studying art
enriches the study of history and allows the student to draw
conclusions, make inferences, and apply knowledge.
-- Art provides an intimate connection with the past; this encourages
pupils to make connections
with the past and present.
-- Utilizing art as a vehicle to comprehend the culture of a specific
civilization provides opportunities for integrating subject area
curriculum. For example:
GALLERY TWO--Trajan's Column is an artwork which clearly depicts the
strife connected with expanding the Roman Empire. This artwork could be
a great springboard for discussion on this topic.
GALLERY FIVE--Scenes of Roman Life make the daily lives of people in
ancient Rome come alive.Using this particular site would be a wonderful
way to introduce this area of study in the classroom. The teacher can
show students these artworks and have students work in cooperative
groups to brainstorm and determine the meaning of these pieces. This
activity could be expanded by providing written primary source documents
which students could use to compare and contrast with their findings
from the artworks.
Currently in my classroom, we are completing a unit which integrates
English, social studies, science, and art. Students are creating their
own artworks to explain the meaning of their written work. Some
examples include the use of charcoal, oil pastel, water color, colored
pencil, fabric, and even clay for creating sculptures. I do plan to
incoporate into a journal writing assignment one of your suggestions in
the CLASSROOM FORUM--
I look forward to answering some of the questions posed in the
"Philosophers Forum . . ." and applying some more of the suggested
activities in the various Classroom Forums. I'd also be happy to share
some of the thoughts from my students. Thanks!
Huntington Middle School
1700 Huntington Drive
San Marino, CA 91108