graceaplenty

Grace should be my middle name.

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Monday, October 11, 2004

I Love You, Period Eight!

I wanted to jump up and down and hug each and every member of my eighth period class today. It was THAT good!

Eighth period is one of my most challenging parts of the day. I have a feeling it's that way for most teachers. Those kids just want to jump up and bust out the door. They talk. They butt in. They talk. They stand up. They talk. When I tell them to stop talking and get to work, they look at me like, "Dude, I wasn't talking!" Did I mention that they talk a lot? There aren't any real behavior problems. It's just the dang noise.

They're also one of the more fun classes usually. They sort of remind me of the core group of kids that I had most of my classes with back in the day. I have a feeling that they may be too smart for their own good. I try to keep them as busy as possible and make sure I run the class pretty militantly. Sometimes, it's exhausting. Eighth period can make or break the way I feel about my day.

Well, today we started a project where wax paper is the most important part. It has to be wax paper. Has to. Well, I had a whole box of it and I was trying to ration it out, but it seemed like there was a lot in there so when 7th period rolled around, I was just tearing it out and all of a sudden, I ran out of wax paper. I knew I had enough for 7th period, but all I could think was, "WTF?! What am I going to do with eighth period?!?!?!"

I decided that I'd do something pretty lame. Like have them do a sketch or a design for the project that they would eventually be doing. But I knew that it would be trouble. They'd finish it in 10 minutes and be like, "Miss G, what am I supposed to do NOW?" And if there's one question I hate more than anything, that's it! However, I had no wax paper substitute and no alternate plans. So I prepared myself for a wild and woolly end of the day.

I did my introduction to Pop Art and Andy Warhol and somewhere along the way things got exciting, things got interesting. I was leading a profound discussion on postmodernism and contemporary art and those kids didn't even KNOW it! Some classes you have to pull out discussions. Sometimes they will not, for anything, give an opinion. They want to know the "right" answer and if they're doing it "right". They're afraid to take a chance because all day every day, they're trying to find that one answer to that one problem. Multiple solutions and creativity is not always their cup of tea. But this class - man, did they have opinions today!

We started talking about appropriation. About tomato soup cans. About the moustache on the Mona Lisa. Then we got into the question, "Is the guy who made up the MacDonald's golden arches an artist?" Then we talked about elephants painting. And dadaists pieces. Minimalism. Ceramics. It was all high art vs. low art. Authorship. Ownership. And finally back to the question, "Is the guy who created the MacDonald's arches an artists?" I don't really care which side of the argument they're on. Just as long as they have a good reason. I had a pretty even split and everyone had an argument why!

After a while, I looked at the clock and there was only 3 minutes left. Operation improvisation in eighth period: SUCCESS!

If that's not postmodern art education and a discussion about "art for life", I don't know what else is. It totally made my day. I'm such a nerd!

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