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How do you get ideas for lessons? Something to ponder

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  • Judy Decker
    Greeetings Art Educators, I am posting this message from Patty Knott that was made on Getty list last fall. I know it received little response... I am just
    Message 1 of 1 , May 2, 2004
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      Greeetings Art Educators,

      I am posting this message from Patty Knott that was made on Getty list last
      fall. I know it received little response... I am just cleaning up some old
      mail and know I saved this to share - just never got around to it.

      How do you brainstorm the lesson and get ideas?

      From Patty Knott:

      My inspiration for lessons comes from "tidbits' I hold, gather ,
      collect.....an image, a word, a phrase.

      I think, sometimes, what I find lacking in art ed is to the connections that
      artists have always made to social, political and economic conditions of the
      world they have lived in. I value the development of technique but more
      than that I value teaching "why did the artist respond in this manner?"

      I have been toying with ideas from the current exhibition at the Whitney
      since this summer: The American Effect - on view July 3 ­ October 12, 2003

      (Since exhibit is over - I removed this from her post)
      The American Effect: Comments

      As the work in The American Effect suggests, perspectives on America vary
      widely both inside and outside the United States. The Whitney Museum invites
      you to express your views about some of the topics in The American Effect.
      You may choose to address one of the following questions or write your own
      comments below:

      1. What are some words you would use to describe America?

      2. If there is a "myth" of America, what is it? Does it differ from the
      reality? If so, how?

      3. American identity is a complicated notion. Even if you were born here and
      are an American citizen, you might not feel American. Or, by contrast, you
      may be a non-American who lives abroad who nevertheless so strongly
      identifies with America's values, culture, or history that you think of
      yourself as, in some way, "American." What is your relationship to America?

      I am grappling with how to bring these issues to my kids. I teach A P. My
      students have great skills-- everyone of them has an acceptable portfolio
      for art school entry. I want to go beyond the technique. I want to push them
      into the "thinking." I want them to take on the issues that contemporary
      artists deal with. At this point I want to gently push the boundaries of
      what they think is art without sacrificing what they are comfortable with. I
      want to release them from what I think is good, and start making their own
      good. I want to get out of "safe." I have a 3" notebook filled with "safe"
      lessons. I'm not asking for lessons. I'm asking for ideas you have had
      that may or may not have worked.
      How/where do you experiment?

      I think all of us on this list are great teachers. I think if we get beyond
      the tied and true we can make some progress into delving into what may be
      the future of art ed.
      I start all my units/lessons with What is the big question? Sometimes it
      is technique, often it is thinking process and my thinking is that there is
      always somebody that can do the technique but the thinking is what is going
      to get you a job.

      I'm not sure that we are teaching thinking. I'm not sure that we are truly
      teaching making the connections. I'm not sure if art ed has some BIG

      I'm trying to brainstorm

      Patty Knott
      I liked this post and thought it should be shared with all of art education.
      We have some college educators on the lists. In my experience, the more
      thought I put into the lesson - the better the lesson was for the kids. I
      think I started with the image to inspire (whether it be from another artist
      or culture) as the first spark - then I went to the meanings I wanted the
      students to put into the lessons. Technique was a part of my lessons - but
      meaning was more important to me and to my students. Aside from units where
      technique was essential for success (like ceramics where certain rules were
      necessary) - I liked to let my students explore technique. I showed them the
      way I used the medium - but helped them develop their own style, too.

      Those of you on the middle school level may want to watch the I Can Fly II
      and III (I is definitely for elementary) videos and see is the teen age
      girl, Austin, may reach your students on styles of painting and periods of
      art. I Can Fly III may just be what they need to see the different modern
      periods of art - through the eyes of a teenager. Preview before showing to
      kids as the videos were designed for younger students.

      What give you the spark for the lesson? My lesson was part of the art.
      No need for any replies to this... I just wanted to share it. Patty's words
      of wisdom are always good and she has been too swamped to post any thing for
      a while.

      Judy Decker - Ohio
      Incredible Art Department
      Incredible Art Resources
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