Monday, September 22, 2014

Pencil Self-Portrait Middle School

I pitted one grade 6 class against a grade 7/8 class. I wanted to see if I taught both classes the project the same way if there would be any notable differences in the drawings. I was curious if the 1-2 gap would be evident in the fine motor skills. I have to admit, the results of both classes were outstanding.

Here are my findings based on my experiment. When I started teaching Art at the middle school level 19 years ago, this was a typical project for a grade 6 class at my school district. It was part of the curriculum and the students in the district had mandated art at the elementary level.

When I taught middle school again 7 years later at one of the "best" districts San Diego, I carried over the curriculum to grade six, and noted the skills, vocabulary, how to manage space were lacking and disproportionate. For most students, grade 6 was their first real art class. The learning gap was wide and varied. I learned that first year, there were no art specialist at the elementary level. Sadly, when I left, the principal made the shortsighted decision to discontinue art. I was disappointed.  

I'm happy to be back in an environment where art is valued at all age levels, the elementary art specialist do a stellar job preparing our students for middle school art, and my teammate and I prepare our students for high school and beyond.

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