Monday, January 16, 2012

Evidence of Existence

For this day of service and remembrance, many teachers and students went out into their communities and gave their time in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

When reading through Dr. King's words, the common theme of equality is there; moreover it seems there is a strong call to being recognized. The evidence of existence and having that recognized by others is a powerful force. When a group or person is ignored, they are forgotten and disenfranchised as a result.  

Art allows students to see evidence of their existence. We reaffirm this through displays, web galleries, and blogs. Art allows students to express their thoughts, feelings, and attitudes about the world around them. In a time where standardized testing is a focus, Art gives students a chance to take risks, be creative, and communicate ideas that might otherwise go unnoticed. 

Knowing that our classrooms can offer this special kind of situation for students, we have a lot of power on how to direct students' energies. In a recent post by 6th grade teacher Amanda Dykes, she examines her classroom through a metaphorical comparison between Pinterest and Fail websites (specifically Cake Wreck). Her hope is like many of ours; when we walk through our classrooms we want it to be a Pinterest of things that are celebrating and engaging students, recognizing their talents and encouraging them to take risks. We do not want the fear of failure to paralyze them to stay in a box predefined by someone else.

In this day of discussing hopes and dreams, share in the dreams of Illinois Teacher of the Year and Social Studies teacher, Josh Stumpenhorst. I, too, dream of a day when students will be able to focus on their passions and be recognized for the content of their character rather than a score on a sheet of paper.

Evidence of Existence -- Holland, MI

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