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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

No More I Can't In Art Class!

   For the very first project of the year, I thought it would be a good start, as a new art teacher, to teach the students right off the bat that we will not be saying, "I can't" in art class.  I was surfing the web & came across a lesson for a funeral for I can't.  (I hate to say it, but I have no idea where I found the lesson & can't remember!  So sorry to whoever I'm not giving credit to; If I can find it, or anyone else knows who, please let me know!)

   When I told the students that we woulld be having a funeral for "I can't", most of them thought I was crazy.... just exactly what I wanted them to think!  Ha.  That way they never expect what's going to happen.  Makes life interesting.

   I started off the lesson having a discussion about things we can't do.  The things I can't do that I told the students included a cartwheel (yes, I'm 29 & can't do a cartwheel!) & drive a stick shift car.
***On a side note, I vow to accomplish both of these by the end of the year to show the students we can do the things we think we can't.  And I'm having a heck of a time trying to motivate myself to learn stick!***
So I then asked the students to create a list of things they think they couldn't do.... some students had a list a mile long, while others students struggled to come up with one or two things!  They then created drawings of what they think they can't do.  I also used the drawings to evaluate their drawing skills, since they were brand new students to me.

   After we completed our drawings, we were going to put our drawings into a "casket" (just a cardboard box with a lid that said "RIP".  Then we were going to talk about letting go of "I can't".  Well, that's when things took a turn for the worse.  The art teacher, who was previously in my position, passed away.  The students & staff were devastated.  I never met her, but heard many stories about her & how she taught, & how the students looked up to her.  I knew I had big shoes to fill.  My main concern was how the students were going to process coming into the art room & handing the situation....and what on earth was I going to do with my lesson?!  There was no way I could have a funeral for "I can't"!  I talked to my principal & to another art teacher  to try to gain my bearings for this lesson.  Quickly we decided to change it from the "I can't" funeral to sending "I can't" away.  I created a huge package out of yellow paper & put an address on it from somewhere near the North Pole & told the students our artwork would be sent off so we can't think of "I can't" anymore & that at the end of the year we would get the package back  from the North Pole & see if we have accomplished any of our things we couldn't do & also see if our art skills have improved.

It's a little blurry, but you get the point.  

Their "I can't" artwork hanging before I "mailed" it away!

   I was amazed how many students actually took something away from this!  I rarely have a student tell me they can't do something.  Just recently, I had a student say, "Miss McCracken, I need help!"  A light bulb went off for me!  I realized I had a break through with at least one student!  What a great feeling!