Getting Schooled in Elementary School

Getting Schooled in Elementary School

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Okay, so I have to admit, I wasn’t looking forward to working with the elementary students as much as I am with high schoolers. But…the elementary kids are a lot more adorable than I was expecting. Nothing ameliorates a situation with teaching until you hear first graders saying your name in unison. I am student teaching at Alcott Elementary in Lincoln Park and my cooperating teacher does a great job of integrating art history and visual culture at every level. No random crafts with feathers and googley eyes just thrown about on pieces of paper here![flickr id=”12355045573″ thumbnail=”medium_640″ overlay=”true” size=”medium_640″ group=”” align=”none”]With one art teacher teaching every student in the school, there are several challenges and benefits to face.

Challenge: you see every kid in the ENTIRE school. A lot of students can forget what they were working on a week ago, and it can take them some time to get re-invested.

Challenge: you breathe in, touch and walk through so many germs. When our cohort had our first seminar class for the semester in the evening at Columbia, pretty much every one of us was going through student teacher hazing by contracting some wicked cold with intense symptoms.

Challenge: every student in the art room making art means, you need space to store a lot of artwork as they work on them from week to week. The art room is no bigger than any other classroom in the school, which means getting creative with storage needs and putting work on display as soon as it is done.

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Benefit: you, as the teacher get to experience what one grade can accomplish and execute with a medium in comparison to another. Multiple grades are completing different weaving projects and now with this experience, I can compare and identify the complexities and manipulation capabilities at every grade.

Benefit: you, as the teacher know that everyone in the building is participating in art class. I can sleep soundly knowing that no child is not receiving art time and being exposed to great things.

Benefit: you as the art teacher have contact with every grade and watch children grow and expand in their artist talents. My teacher can easily spit out all the accomplishments and how proud she is of her students and has been their to see how much they have improved along the way.

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As a student teacher, I only have seven weeks at the elementary level. At the beginning it seemed like a long time. I am starting my fourth week already, and I feel like time is flying by. There are so many ideas I have for art projects, but I have to pick and choose wisely with the weeks I have left. My cooperating teacher is sharing so many lessons with me and imparting great wisdom that can only be acquired from years of being in the field. Teaching right out of the gate and having a person with expertise to help you reflect gives you a quick turn around time to develop your skills. Well, I’m off to bed.  I’m officially on teacher time: early to sleep and early to wake up.