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I could use your input for our newest elementary art teacher


From: Jean Womack (jeaneger_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Sep 26 2004 - 11:26:54 PDT

Re: I could use your input for our newest elementary art teacher

There are grade-level art textbooks! Your new teacher doesn't have to
re-invent the wheel! For example, ART EXPRESS published by Harcourt Brace,
or PORTFOLIOS, published by Barrett Kendall publishing. You can even buy
them used at If she has completed the
breadth requirement in art, she should be able to teach all the lessons in
the textbook.

The book for new teachers I like the best is FIRST YEAR TEACHER'S SURVIVAL
KIT, by Julia Thompson. That's for K-12.

Important considerations in the art classroom: the teacher should have made
the project before teaching it, to be sure it is do-able, to find the
glitches and make she she has all the materials she needs. She should
demonstrate everything she wants to have done, she should train the kids to
clean up after themselves and give them enough time to do it (minimum ten
inutes) (It might take them three minutes to comprehend the direction to
stop doing art work, and then they have to take turns at the sink.). That
also means going around to individuals and asking them nicely to pick stuff
up off the floor, clean off the table, etc. Also giving positive behavior
motivation and rewards. That means pointing out the kids who did things the
right way. "Sally has cleaned her desk and under her desk and she has her
hands folded and is ready to be dismissed." There are many ways to manage
your classroom, which she will learn from her colleagues and books as she
goes along.

I suggest you keep a Disney video around for emergencies. I think God
invented those wonderful hypnotic Disney videos for the times when the fire
engines are clanging, the firecrackers are going off in the distance, the
police are surrounding the school and a teacher has been carried out on a
stretcher. The little guys tend to act out those emergencies. To my
horror, I have seen little guys bump their mouths on the edge of a desk,
trip over things, and generally hurt themselves when a teacher gets hurt.
That's when you find out what a big impact teachers have on young lives.
Hopefully that will not happen to your kids. No one should want kids to get
hurt, by accident, or otherwise. I throw a video on the TV and pray that
the teacher has trained them to sit calmly and watch a video. No, it's NOT
dumbing them down. It's dealing with an emergency. After all, Disney made
a lot of money, and paid a lot of artists for their art work! Or if you
don't like Disney, I adore ICE AGE. The entertainment industry thrived
during WW II, because people needed some kind of escape.

My qualifications are a BA in art education and printmaking from San
Francisco State U., an MA in art education from SFSU, a credential in art
and introductory English, 12 units of early childhood education, six weeks
of teaching preschool, nine weeks of teaching art in an inner city high
school in San Francisco and about five years of substitute teaching in the
San Francisco Bay Area, including lots of art classrooms, but mostly in
middle school and high school, so you can take my advice for what it's

Jean Womack.