Friday, May 27, 2011

Knowledge of Subject Matter


("Riverbed" by Donna Grimm, soft pastels)

"The object of our discussion is not that my words may triumph over yours, not that yours may gain the victory over mine, but that between us we may discover the most perfect truth." Socrates

      It is important for me to understand and implement core concepts demonstrated through the fine arts, objectively demonstrate to my students tools of inquiry, and to also interpret effective structures of discipline(s) utilized by many professional artists within the context of a academic global society. I must generate learning experiences that are both meaningful and thought provoking for art students assigned to my care.
      Many people believe fine art instructors primarily focus upon the teaching of principles and elements of design. These elements are interwoven into the subject of fine art, to be sure, but so are culture , philosophy,  and experience. Art students use all of these ideas to inform their decisions when creating an artwork in my classroom. The young people that I teach will learn to make educated choices and maintain quality processes. Although I do not believe in dictating all of their ideas, I do anticipate the importance of directing their energy in both productive and educational activities. This influence will improve the choices they make in future art assignments and general educational studies.
      I believe a professional teacher accumulates and maintains a wide variety of literary resources that will inform the lesson plans that he or she creates. I want my lesson plans to educate, inspire and appeal to young people. However, these lessons should also fulfill the expectations of the administration that employs me. I have included in my livetext portfolio a Stand Alone Bibliography for those administrators, teachers and parents who may wish to keep informed of the literature I will be using to develop my curriculum. I often include these materials for students to read or listen to in class. Older students are also given reading homework from this private collection.
      Through journaling and observation I have learned to organize my thoughts, maintain education materials in such a way as to make them practically applicable in a classroom, and I have also learned that I can benefit from the professional experience of my fellow teachers greatly. I have developed six journals loaded with all kinds of reflections, brief essays, photographs, articles and listings of art resources for my future needs as an art instructor. Administrators may review pages and listings from the following journals during a live interview.
      The journal titled "Art At The Museum," was developed during my class by the very same name. This unique experience took place at the St. Louis Art Museum during the spring semester of 2010. The chief aim of the course work which is included in it's entirety inside of the journal, was to inform pre-service art educators how to collect, reference and use museum studies, collections and art history in the classroom. The two primary areas of focus were on ancient cultures and modern art. However, there were also some unusual studies on artifact preservation and curriculum development as well.
      I chose to create the journal titled "Literature & Art Integrated for Elementary School Children," during my studies in elementary literature in the spring semester of 2010 in addition to many enjoyable projects assigned during this informative class. It contains an abundance of ideas about how an art teacher can integrate reading, writing and literacy in the art classroom.
      The journal titled "Art Internship Seminar at UMSL," is the accumulation of a wide variety of materials I needed to reflect upon in order to complete a hands-on teaching experience at Union Elementary School, Bellville, Ill.. During the fall semester of 2010, I partnered with a fellow student to write and teach a series of six lesson plans based upon the CUSP exhibits at the Schmidt Art Center, Belleville, Illinois. The CUSP exhibits are about teaching and informing through a wide variety of objects and human experiences common to the community of individuals living in Bellville.  Through our lessons, students learned to make art that focused on their own personal identity and environment. 
      In addition to my detailed journaling, I have also observed and written descriptive essays about many qualified professionals from my surrounding school districts: Lindbergh, St. Charles, St. Louis City , and Jennings. These teachers successfully implement many educational strategies, build on their student's prior knowledge, and engage students in various methods of inquiry/research in their classrooms daily. I have incorporated much of their positive advice and methods during my State Internship experience at a Bellville elementary school, which has been documented in detail in the journal, "Ubjects."
     I also share many reproductions of art objects in my extended family's collections with my school children while teaching course studies in history, art and culture. Samples such as those pictured in my private portfolio and the careful selection of films, original artworks and literature help me to create authentic experiences for students under my instruction.

article copyrighted 2011 by Grimm 

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