Something very similar happened to me this year. I have an extra 1/2
day at my home school as do the music and phys.ed. teachers. Our
district is obsessed with proficiency tests, so we were asked to go into
the regular classrooms and do WHATEVER the classroom teachers needed us
to do.... Well, this kinda went over like a lead balloon. I thought my
music teacher, who has been in the building for 20 some years, was going
to have a fit! They intentionally were not trying to undermine the
importance of the arts, including phys. ed, but doing flash cards with
4th graders was something I told the teachers I would prefer not to do.
Also, at the beginning of the school year, I received from the arts
curriculum director, a copy of the new assessment/evaluation standards,
bible, whatever you wish to call it, for our state. Since this was an
item on which we arts teachers supposed to focus, I decided at the
suggestion and success of Woody's and several other art teachers on this
list, to start my own art word wall.
Since teaching the children to communicate about what they think other
artist's are trying to share and to communicate what they are trying to
share, I suggested to the principal and classroom teachers that I teach
creative writing, complete with creative thinking, punctuation, grammar,
spelling, etc., only in the art room. They loved this idea and I am
spending 60 minutes extra art time with one class of third graders.
My first class was a discussion about the purpose of the class,
expectations, etc. (a very short class the first week). Second class we
discussed, "What is art?," " Who is an artist?," and " How to you see
like an artist?"
I projected several photographs to get them to use their 5 senses to
describe what it was they saw. In using all five senses, they were
seeing like artists by focusing on the small parts, or details. These
details were translated into the art elements.
Next we made magic windows. I told them they were going to be art
detectives and their challenge was to find as many art elements and
details as they could. They folded an 8 1/2 by 8 1/2 in paper twice and
folded the all folds corner up about an inch. They cut on the crease
which resulted in a square window. Cooooool. They crack me up! Then I
told them to choose one of the small prints which were in their table
baskets (prints of paintings, drawings, sculptures, textiles, etc.) and
move their window over the print and look for details.
A few students volunteered to stand up in front of the class and share
what they had found.
I then passed out a list of vocabulary words, made up of the words they
used to describe the pictures, and their next assignment is to write
"What is art to you?" Nothing long, but just a few short lines which we
will then edit.
Now, I have to brush up on my writing skills...which is obvious if you
read any of my e-mail!
Don't know if this will help, but I don't feel like my position as an
art teacher has been demeaned to being teacher's helper. Not that I
wouldn't be more than happy to help a classroom teacher, but they
understood exactly what I was feeling. It would be like them being told
to come in and help me teach art.
> to go
> into the regular elementary classroom as support for the teaching time
> lacking now in their own classroom. The concept being stressed is that
> classroom instructional time with the regular classroom teacher is the
> important learning time of the day for students (Pre-K through 6th
> grade). In
> addition, the special teachers are being asked to work with the
> teacher, at his or her discretion, stressing an integrated curriculum.