Teachingartonthecheap's Blog

Prospectus (Warning: might be boring if you’re not into the nuts and bolts of my art idea)

Posted on: August 12, 2009

Creative Reuse Pilot Program Prospectus

A partnership between Whitman Elementary School, Keri Piehl and SCRAP.

Summary:

Scrap and Keri Piehl are partnering with Marcus Whitman Elementary to create a one year art program focusing on providing a school that is otherwise without comprehensive arts programming with a full time volunteer certified teacher. This includes an independently written curriculum, art materials, school and community based displays, and concentrates on creative reuse as the backbone of an affordable, innovative elementary art program.

Goals:

These are based on the National Visual Arts Standards, as outlined by the National Art Education Association:

-Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

-Using knowledge of structures and functions

-Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas

-Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures

-Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their

work and the work of others

-Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines

In addition to the basic goals that should comprise the underpinnings of any solid art program, I am including

-Incorporate the concept of creative reuse into all parts of the curriculum, from art materials and displays to cleaning practices and storage.

– Maintain a “traditional” aesthetic in terms of project appearance, art materials and processes. I want to demonstrate that educators can incorporate reuse without the falling-apart-plastic-bits-glued-to-a-toilet-paper-tube type of projects that so often become the only ambassador of “recycled” art projects.

-Create displays of student art to show in public spaces, such as coffee shops, community centers and libraries

-Work with staff and parents on making art, including a family art night in the spring

-Maintain a price book to accompany my lessons, so I can break down projects into a price-per-student unit, allowing other educators to see how affordable art can be

-Make my lesson plans/curriculum available to educators through Scrap

Execution:

Principal Lori Clark has been incredibly supportive of the idea of this partnership. She has created a regular weekly art schedule for her staff, and I will visit each classroom every week via “art on a cart”.

-There will be a designated art storage/prep area at the school, and some materials for future projects will be in storage at Scrap.

-The Whitman calendar is divided into trimesters; the first trimester I will concentrate on the basic principles of art (color, line, shape etc.) to provide the vocabulary, familiarity with materials, and a basic framework for more complex lessons later in the year.

-The second 2 trimesters will incorporate arts integration with grade level units of study. For example, the fourth and fifth grade teachers may opt for me to reinforce geometric math concepts using art the second trimester, and then focus on ecology for the third trimester.

-I will approach community places when appropriate to set up displays (and perhaps even sell student art with permission to fund supplies that are unavailable through Scrap).

-Depending on CMD and Scrap’s suggestions, it may be an asset to create a “Year in the Life” blog detailing daily/weekly trials and triumphs and share lessons plans and photos in conjunction with Scrap’s website.

Follow up:

I will publish lesson plans (complete with price-per-student info) as I work through the school year. As a volunteer teacher, I am not expected to formally assess the students, but plan to give students and staff a short survey at the beginning of the year, halfway through, and once more at the end. These responses can help drive curriculum planning and inform other educators planning their own art programs.

Thank you for taking the time to read through my program prospectus. I realized last spring that due to layoffs in most school districts, I would not be able to find a job returning to teach elementary school. Previously, I worked with Whitman ES through Schools Uniting Neighborhoods as an afterschool educator, and saw a place with a superdedicated staff and students who devoured all my art lessons (and even started asking “Is that from Scrap?!” every time I brought crazy materials for them to explore- they knew the answer was always yes).  I wanted to take a leap and decided that the only way for this school, with no PTA to speak of (but plenty of parents interested in their children’s education) and little arts funding might be to give them an arts program for free. I want to thank Scrap for offering the amazing gift of a large materials donation and am excited to see where this idea can lead Scrap in the future of their education program.

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