Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Couple of Questions....

How the art teacher feels, when her 14 year old daughter, while working on a packet for her Intro to Art class says," The primary colors are red, yellow and green, right?"  I just stared at her in complete dismay... her reaction was, " What? Not right?" " Don't look at me like that Mom! The last time I learned this was a long time ago! I don't study the color wheel you know!" Next was, " What are the secondary colors again?" and " What the heck is a hue?" " How do you get an intermediate color?"  Needless to say I began to go into teacher mode and explain to her how the color wheel works... mind you she was looking at a page in her art textbook and the answers were staring right at her... I could see them on the page from across the room... by the time we were done she knew how to navigate the color wheel ( not that she wanted a lesson, she just wanted the answers, sorry, she got a lesson on to figure it out for herself...) ( I kept randomly quizzing her all night... she really loved that... not...)

This brings me to the never ending questions I have been discussing with colleagues all school year... 
1.)  The kids want all the answers handed to them, they don't want to think... how do we get them to start thinking for themselves? I have spent a lot of time this year working on questioning and discussion to get my kids at school to start thinking and figuring out the answers for themselves.  I find my younger kids K-3d are more willing and receptive than my older kids 4th and 5th to think for themselves and discuss, but we are working on it.

2.) I know I teach certain facts/techniques and at the time the kids will know it. If I ask the same questions a month later some will remember but a lot will act like we have never discussed it before! How do we get the kids to retain for the long term what it is we are teaching them? How can we as teachers get them to remember these facts and not just memorize them temporarily while they need them and then throw them out of their head when we move on to something new? Usually it will take some prodding and reminders to remember something we have learned in the past. How do we change how we are presenting our material so that it sticks in their heads? 

Any ideas? Anyone else find this with their students also? Any ideas on why this is? Talk to me down in the comments! I'm curious what you all have to say!  :)
Update: Just as I ask you all about how to get our students to think I see this post by Krissy at Venspired .  I found Krissy's blog a few years ago, read what she has to say about how to get our kids to think. I love her thoughts( amazing, thought provoking thoughts ) on education and how to teach our kids to be creative thinkers.

Still working on my "superpower" T for next Friday at school... stitching around each letter is taking FOREVER... after a while it's making my eyes go buggy so I have to stop and give it a rest...  Most of the stitching is going into the "creative" box, the rest will just get simple outline stitches...

Finally in the home stretch with my shawl... on the final edging now... getting tired of this one, I need to move on...

                                 I really need to go do errands but I'm not feeling it...

                                              I'm stuck in snooze mode today..........
                                                             Mrs."C"  :)


  1. Was talking about your first point with colleagues in the staffroom today! And how it seems to be the case when solving maths problems, researching projects and other things too. Not sure why... instant technology? teaching in schools? Would be interesting to know!

  2. I think in teaching elem art, it is only teaching the students once a week....if that...with assemblies, snow days, etc. they just do not remember. It is very frustrating!

  3. I think rather than memorizing facts, the kids will remember them better if they learn by doing. So instead of drilling the color wheel into their heads, give them paints - red, yellow, blue, turquoise, magenta, black, and white - and teach them how to mix tiny dabs at a time and see what happens. They will learn and remember way better than with drill and kill, I promise.

    And now, remember that talking about color theory has another few layers... we are mixing pigment, but what happens with light? Are the primary colors red/yellow/blue? Or cyan/magenta/yellow? Or red/blue/green? Make sure the kids know that what you are teaching is PIGMENT, not LIGHT. It does not work the same way.

  4. Girl, I FEEL YOUR PAIN. I was actually my kids elem. art teacher (this way they can have great stories for their therapists later in life!). My 8th grade son is taking art in middle school and told me HE LEARNED NOTHING FROM ME. Keep in mind I also have a painting studio IN MY HOUSE. All I could do was keep pouring the wine.

    1. Thanks Leslie, now I don't feel so bad.... my daughter also informed me that she didn't learn anything in elementary art either ( I know she did, I have all the pieces she and her brother made...) How weird(or not weird) was it to be your own kid's teacher?

  5. We all feel the pain of feeling exasperated when our students have not retained anything. What worries me is how do I prove I have taught anything if their is no knowledge retained? I am starting to feel like its because my students think Art is only suppose to be fun and they shouldn't be expected to learn. At least that's what the older ones tell me. I try to always make the verbal connections to other subject areas so perhaps they will value what they are learning by realizing it might help them on a test somewhere else. Wish I had a better answer so I'll be checking back to see what everyone else has to say.