The adventures of an Art Teacher

The art room is busy, music is blaring, students are talking, it looks like chaos threw up.  How is this a good learning environment?  If you were reading or lecturing it would be safe to say there would be zero learning going on.  If you were a lecture/ book based teacher you would be hiding under your desk in a panic wondering how you lost control.  If you were an art teacher you would look around and see a truly different state.  You would see creativity and students problem solving and might even relish in the idea of this work environment so much you would set up your studio here (that is another post, though).  In my room students can talk and listen to music (my music) as long as they are working.  A good art teacher will be able to capture students’ attentions in the middle of the controlled chaos that is their room. I can spend an entire class period on a reading activity or lecturing to my students about art.  It is striking that balance that is essential to this learning environment.

But what does this have to do with Common Core? Well it all comes down to balance.  Striking that balance and creating an environment with controlled chaos is the key.  I began this semester with a binder and a table I made to plan my projects based on the Common Core and tie in Authentic Literacy/ Learning into my classes.  I found an article on the Rule of Thirds for my Advanced Art class, tutorials for my 3-D classes, and I looked at how this Authentic Literature could work with Common Core.  I made my Advanced class start blogging about their art, knowing that this act also fits with Common Core.  Nine years ago I would have tried to fight the change.  I would have struggled finding ways to incorporate reading into the art room. I would have been like a fish fighting the current, wasting so much energy and eventually following suit with the current.

The truth is we should be utilizing Authentic Literacy in our rooms, every teacher should.  Many teachers already are and don’t realize it.  Many of these same teachers are meeting the Common Core standards without realizing it.  The one thing that planning for Common Core has made me do is incorporate more Authentic Literacy into my studio classes and folks incorporating reading is never a bad idea.


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