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Re: It is time for me to go (NOT)

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From: Linda Papanicolaou (paplinda_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Sep 21 2001 - 07:49:01 PDT


I propose that people exercise a little self-editing
before clicking on the 'send' button. Are you asking
or contributing something that's directly related to
art teaching? Writing as someone who knows [at least]
one person who's dead, I can only say that standing up
in front of my kids and keeping the art-making going
for the past week has kept my head on straight. I
depend on this list to help me do my job and it's hard
to have to scroll through a digest that's encumbered
with personal postings however sincere.

Now, mindful that my posting too will be forever in
the archives, the following observations:

1) In 6th gr. I happened to be starting a unit on
symbolic abstraction linking into a tapestry-weaving
project and it's been very therapeutic. One boy
obsessively drew the WTC in his sketchbook for a day
or two. His seat partner called it to my attention.
I told him that if that was on his mind he could do
it, but please do it respectfully. It's on their
minds and will probably reappear sporadically in their
art work for some time to come. Don't forget, people.
 This isn't a matter of scripting lessons. The power
of art is its ability to be invested with meaning in
unexpected ways.

2) Events probably did alter my lesson plans for 4th
and 5th grs. I've been making sketchbooks and started
them off with the prompt 'list 10 things that remind
you of the color blue.' Predictably, most responses
were descriptive (blue jeans, blue notebook, etc) but
occasionally expressive imagery would pop up, and in
every class at least one student would write 'American
flag.' I summarized the lesson by drawing on the
board a central idea graph, 'the uses of color in
art,' (descriptive, expressive, symbolic). I'm going
to begin with symbolism. Haven't worked it out yet,
but will probably do a pair of lessons on the flag (I
saw the Star Spangled Banner project in the
Smithsonian recently) and on family heraldry. After
that I'll do expression. Our curriculum, Adventures
in Art, has a section called Wordless Messages that
I'll use as a springboard. In the past I've tended to
do more with observation and more intellectual problem
solving. This is a new tack for me. I'm not sure I
would have been doing things this way but for recent
events.

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