Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Today I taught a well thought-out and planned art lesson. I had even created the project myself in advance for a sample. I had worked with colleagues in the planning process. However, after the direct instruction part of the lesson, when I watched the students work and create, I realized there were many things I did not think about! The students weren't really unhappy with their work, but I knew their potential was far from reached, at no fault of theirs.

At recess I brought my next-door colleague over to examine the work and listen to some of my comments. She had been part of the planning process with me and was in a good position to help me analyze where things went "wrong" or at least "not as I thought they should." I realized in both my "internal" and "external" conversations that there were many things in my lesson I could have done differently. I could have explained the use of the media more clearly. The examples I gave should have been more thoughtfully discussed and analyzed. I also needed to break down the sequence of creation in smaller steps for greater understanding and incremental success.

So... I decided that we frequently talk about drafts and revisions in writing with students, so I was going to go back to my second graders and explain that we were also going to do that with our art. I was revising my lesson to make it better for them and they were going to get to revise their composition. In both cases (mine and my students') we didn't "waste" the first hour, but rather learned by doing, learned from our mistakes or wrong turns and came out with a better lesson and better product.

My students were thrilled with their work and I was happy to have had the time to re-do it right then. The details were fresh in my mind and my motivation was high to try again. Revise and edit. Practice makes better.... for both the teacher and the learner.
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