Any teachers out there?
There’s this great program that they do in Rachel’s school called “Art Through The Ages.” It’s completely run and taught by the PTA and the idea behind the program is to teach kids both history, and art history, while also giving them an art class. The time period is discussed along with what things were happening in the world and a particular region at that time, art during that time frame is shown and discussed, and then the kids get a chance to try their hands at creating similar art using similar methods from the time. Rachel loves the program. She comes home and tells me all about what she learned, and what she made.
This year I offered to help. Honestly, I really didn’t think they’d need me or that they’d pick me to lead the lesson. I thought maybe there were better trained people and I would just be helping them. I chose the Renaissance time period. Yesterday we had the training, and I found out that, in fact, *I* will be leading the lesson. (There was someone listed as being available to help me – but I haven’t heard from them).
So the history portion (as far as I understand it! Someone PLEASE correct me if I’m wrong!) talks about the shift from God-centered thinking and artwork, to human-centered. People sent less money to Rome to the Church. Because of the bubonic plague, there were just less people around in general, which meant less famine, less (business) competition and a “middle class” rose into being that had more expendable money. Some of this money was spent on the arts; Music, plays, artwork. Artists could make a living on their craft – and this gave rise to an explosion in creativity.
This is the point that we’re supposed to do an activity with the kids to get them to “feel like they’re in this time” – and unfortunately the activity just made no sense to me. The activity they had revolved around having a few kids pick a “job” (for example: corn farmer) and having them set a price for their product – and would the rest of the class pay that much, (if there’s just one corn farmer – do you have much choice) – and then if there are more corn farmers – how does their competition and price change.
I just don’t get the connection between that activity and the Renaissance. There’s got to be another activity (non-art-related – that comes later) that can give them a better understanding of the time period. Unfortunately, I’m on my own if I want to try something different (which we’ve been given the freedom to do) but aside from the fact that I 1) suck at public speaking even in front of kids! and 2) suck at teaching in general – WHAT?! What do I do??
The ART portion of the lesson I think I can do (or at least do better than what is planned for the HISTORY portion) – I’ll be covering the new concepts that came about during the Renaissance such as “vanishing points”, “foreshortening” – I can show paintings during the Medieval time and compare that with paintings during the Renaissance. I can show how vanishing points work – etc. Then the kids are to try their hands at creating a “fresco” (which actually isn’t really a fresco – from what I understand – fresco means painting on WET plaster – secco is painting on dry plaster. Most FRESCO’s were a combination of fresco and secco because while the fresco had more permanence, the colors couldn’t be as vibrant – so most artists went back over their fresco and added details with the more vibrant colors – secco) The kids will be painting on DRY plaster. (Do I bother to explain the difference between fresco and secco? They didn’t even mention it in the training and just said the kids will be doing a fresco – which is wrong!)
But what about the HISTORY portion? Any ideas? Any resources? (I could use more painting samples too – any websites out there that have a lot of examples I can show the kids?) (I should probably add that this is for a 4th grade class)
Man, I am NEVER doing this again!!! There’s a VERY GOOD reason I don’t homeschool – I absolutely SUCK at this!