Lesson pitfalls and how to fix them, from https://www.goshen.edu/art/ed/LesnIdea.html#problems

a. Many lessons say to show art examples, photos, or pictures before children do the art work. The sequence of lesson activities has the answers before the problem. The students are not truly expected to be capable of creating their own ideas or the teacher doesn't want to explain it well enough or take the time to have students do practice of preliminary planning and learning. Instead the lesson depends on the natural ability of children to learn by imitation. Who needs a teacher for this?Consider the 4 sources of inspiration for subject matter from Chapman. They are: 1) Nature and the constructed environment, 2) Inner feelings and imagination, 3) Quest for order, and 4) Ordinary experience (Chapman 46-52). When you take away the example art at the beginning of the lesson, it is important to replace it with better motivational activities so children know how you expect them to proceed.   Take time to assign some practice work.  Build confidence. See number c. below. Teach art history after media work. Select art history based on elements, style, ideas, creative methods, etc. covered in media work. The library has a 30+ volume set of Encyclopedia of Art.
b. Some lesson plans suggest a food product as an art material.  What values does this teach about hunder, food, and waste?   Do we value the art experience enough to buy art materials?  Is food to treated as expendable?  "Although potato, fruit, and vegetable prints are often recommended for children, the idea of food as an expendable for printmaking reflects a lack of concern about food in a world in which hunger is a serious problem" (Chapman 249)If non art material (food) is used, why not use actual art material if it works just as well. We should not apologize for spending some budget on art supplies. It is some of the best investment we can make in the children's learning. We spend our budgets on what we value. Food and other items are not free either.  Beautifully prepared food should be an aesthetic experience for dining together - not to hang on the wall.
c. They move directly to making the final product without teaching children how to develop their ideas, their compositions, or how to use the materials. Hence, little art is learned. They ignore thoughtful consideration of style, topic (subject) choice, function, design or composition, and/or art vocabulary learning. They might ignore skill development needs prior to the main product.Consider adding some warm up activities, some practice time with the materials, and some planning activities for the product being made. Avoid a mere demonstration by the teacher, but have your students actually using materials to gain confidence before you expect them to do the main work.  Consider style, topic (subject) choice, function, design or composition, and/or art vocabulary learning. 
d. They ignore art history learning opportunities. See a. above. Discuss at least one very important work after the media work. LesnIdea.html
e. Many lessons totally ignore art in society or art in everyday life connections. If children are to become aware of how the world is being designed by people, we need to make them more aware and sensitive about how things are becoming worse or better in our immediate surroundings. This is part of teaching aesthetics. We have laws against noise pollution, air pollution, and water pollution. Should their be more laws against polluting our viewscapes. Who benefits and who sacrifices with more and bigger billboards and power lines indiscriminately located? Who cares when the electrician places a light switch so that it makes hanging artwork on a wall more difficult?Everyday experiences can be an important as a source of topics from which to work. 
Also, add some ideas about how this lesson can make us more aware of our environments. Include some relevant questions to ask the class. For example, when I think about juxtaposition of visual themes in surrealism, and apply this to the way campus buildings have been modified over the years, I become more aware of the impact of architectural space and design in my environment. Every school and neighborhood has some relatively ugly and some relatively beautiful environments. One of our goals is to help children develop sensitivity and aesthetic criteria by which to become more responsible citizens.
f. They use a teacher demonstration when a guided discovery method would work better to learn a process or concept.Most things can be taught without a teacher demonstration every student does a practice routine with the materials. Doing it is generally more effective than watching it.   Art production is not a spectator activity.  If you must demonstrate for safety or clarity, follow it immediately with hands on practice. 
g. The procedure is inappropriate for the age. A common example of a process not recommended is finger-painting for kindergarten and lower grades. "Finger paint is of some value for the very young child who is seeking motor and kinesthetic pleasure. But it is not recommended as a major drawing or painting medium for children who have learned to make simple visual symbols, primarily because the kinesthetic and tactual appeal of finger paint overpowers the child's attention to its visual qualities." (Chapman 227) "If they are more concerned with the sticky consistency and smearing the paint all over than with using it for expression, then they are not using finger paint to satisfy the desire to control their kinesthetic movements. However, for tense, timid, or fearful children finger painting may provide an important outlet...." (Lowenfeld 106)There may be third grade and older children who really need an occasional freeing activity to change their increasing self-critical attitude. Something less controlled like fingerprint may be a good change of pace. Be sure that the curriculum also includes lessons with sound skill development. If every lesson is to "free the mind and feel good about yourself" and "getting rid of inhibitions," skills of observation, rendering, construction, and even thinking never develop beyond the schematic stage. Even those adults who feel they cannot draw, wish they could. More informed practice at a young enough age would have helped.
h. They produce a nice end product, but the learning objectives are unclear or the process fails to respect the child's creative potential.Avoid showing a pattern or example of the end product, but put lots of effort into being clear about the kind of thinking practice they will need to come up with an end product to take pride in. Use preliminary practice to build confidence and to clarify what it expected.  Students should make lists and/or sketches.  Group discussions can be used. 

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