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Tough following some homeroom environments!

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From: Larry Seiler (lseiler_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Sep 17 2002 - 05:12:53 PDT


Those that each elementary classes a couple times a week, or whatever...will
relate to this.

I brought my second graders outside yesterday. A beautiful day in the
northwoods of Wisconsin. My intention was to gather the darlings together,
look at a number of different trees and observe their structures and how
they differ. To see as an artist sees and how LINE can be used expressively
to capture the feeling of different trees.

I planned, and I did to some degree....on having the kids stand and imagine
they were a tree. Hands and fingers high in the sky imitating branches, and
feet solidly stuck to the ground. We giggled and had fun...but...

(and there's always the BUT !)

Think you could contain attention of the group for more than five seconds?
One's grabbing pine needles and tossing them here, another clutching at crab
apples...others rolling or tossing leaves. Get two to settle down in time
to try and get a few others attention, only to turn around and see those
other two back at it again! It was the stuff of comedy really.

We did get around, touch various trees...and in time, you could see kids got
the idea anyway. WE went into the classroom, and I think we got some pretty
good drawings out of it. Quite a bit more expressive than I think we would
have, so I feel some success of the exercise.

However...seems how this goes. We don't have control over inconsistent
disciplines at home. Those that require special needs (when a school can't
afford extra aides to help us out). The other thing though is...you might
have homeroom teachers that tolerate the noise, and just see it as young
normal healthy adolescent kids. I can tell when some kids come from the
homeroom of one teacher...what goes on in the normal course of their room
just by how they come down the hall and enter the room. No real control
over that. We try our best...but in two classes per week of 45 minutes, its
hard to modify behavior.

Perhaps one of the most ironic humorous moments came for me two years ago
when an elementary teacher told me that I would probably be gone soon
because of budget cuts, and that "well...art just isn't high on the priority
list"...so I should have a backup plan! This person was one that was known
to have insisted upon the least discipline in his room. He was in fifth and
now down to the third grade.

Well...at any rate, I know we can easily beat up on ourselves folks for how
hard it is to deal with some students. Especially if we fear our own
evaluation should an administrator walk in on such a tough class. Remember
though, its a team effort! Parents, community, home rooms...then you! Be
kind to yourself....smile! I toast a hearty cup of java to us in light of
it! Cheers!!!!

Larry S.
http://www.artlandishconcepts.org

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