An Attack on the Tower of Babel

Posted by on Jan 15, 2013 in Resource, What's New? | 0 comments

Beverly Levett Gerber and I co-authored An Attack on the Tower of Babel: Creating a National Arts/Special Education Resource Center Excerpt: A reciprocal relationship exists between educators of the arts and educators who work with students with special needs. Arts educators far too often lack necessary information about students with diverse special needs. Special educators and classroom teachers, meanwhile, need information both about the arts and working with teachers of the arts. This observation was a recurring and frequently discussed goal at the 2012 Kennedy Center forum, “Examining the Intersection of Arts Education and Special Education: A National Forum.” Arts and special education information and research literature are currently housed in a variety of settings nationwide, rarely easy to access. How can we make that information accessible to all? Most teachers do not know that information about the arts for students with special needs exists. Arts teachers who seek information about students on the autism spectrum in their classrooms, for example, should be able to tap into that information easily (Gerber & Kellman, 2010; Kellman, 2001). The same holds true for a variety of learners. Teachers of the arts, who have had to navigate their own complicated relationships with paraeducators (paraprofessionals) in their classrooms have been without guidance and support. They should know that information about paraeducators in the art room is now available (Guay, 2010; Guay & Gerlach, 2006). In this paper, we share our professional stories to demonstrate why access to this information is so important. We offer perspectives on our rapidly changing world of information accessibility. In addition, we reflect on the differences in professional languages, an unintentional Tower of Babel. These differences are confusing. For example, the plethora of special education acronyms caused one art teacher to refer to the field as “alphabet soup.” In addition, not all categories of special needs are alike. A “one- size-fits-all” approach for students in special education has never worked and should not exist. Information should be readily available for teachers to help all students meet their potential. A national arts/special education resource center can dismantle that tower and bridge separate, but related, professions with accurate information and professional training. The visual and performing arts and arts therapies overlap in their goals to bring success to students with special needs through the arts. All have their own resources. Currently, the availability of arts/special education information is problematic. While members of a professional organization are more likely to hear of new research and publications in their own field, relatively few professionals belong to two or more organizations to access information in special education and the arts. There is a crucial need for a national arts/special education resource center to make that information accessible to all. That is the goal of this white...

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All Of Them

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 in Grad Student Success, Resource, What's New? | 0 comments

All Of Them is a presentation I gave at the 2010 NAEA convention. It’s an overview of the six theses my first MA Graduates wrote. PDF

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Tips Toolbox for Teaching Art

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 in Resource, What's New? | 0 comments

1. Remember—children express themselves through art. 2. Color in the whole paper! 3. Press hard on your crayons. 4. Everyone’s “marks” are good. 5. Scan art from reproductions onto transparencies. Use them for motivation. 6. Never turn down any donated art supplies. Once I thought, “what can I do with 1,000 ping pong balls?” Now that they have been used, I wish I had more! 7. Talk art talk! 8. Call the children artists. 9. ALWAYS make an example for the children from the supplies they are using. 10. Demonstrate a technique, hang it up to talk about it and then take it down so they won’t copy. 11. Create Gallery Walks. Hang art reproductions in the art room, hall or cafeteria. Students look at the art and fill in “Looking Log” forms about the name of the painting and the artist, the medium, the types of lines, colors, the feeling that the artwork gives, etc. 12. Always try a lesson first to see if it works. Use the materials and supplies that the children will be using. 13. Use bulletin boards and exhibits as teaching tools. 14. Learn names. 15. Special Needs Children are not throwaway children. They, too, are God’s beloved. 16. If you hear my voice, clap once…if you hear my voice, clap twice…and I don’t ever want to go beyond to claps. 17. If you have three steps in a lesson, always end by retelling the students the first step. 18. Teach cooperative learning. Children need to learn to work together. 19. When you get complaints about “he/she copied” say, “Take it as a compliment.” 20. When a child says, “I messed up,” answer, “Tell me where and let’s try to fix it. How would you do it differently?” 21. Writing has a place in the art room as well. Children enjoy writing about their work, whether it’s answering prepared questionnaires or responding to questions posed by the...

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Tips Toolbox for Teaching

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 in Resource, What's New? | 0 comments

1. Be consistent. 2. Laugh! 3. Children often tattle…he did this—she did that…and you are working at teaching a lesson and keeping 33 students in control. Time out for 20 individual he/she dids becomes a bit overwhelming. I have found that a simple “Thank you for telling me” usually works to keep all parties happy. 4. Children love to clean up. Use it as a reward. 5. Learn from your students. 6. Honestly evaluate your lessons. What could you do, say or demonstrate differently to make the lesson more productive, more exciting and more interactive? 7. Be sure to use good quality slides of artwork and preview them first to ensure that they are in the right order and not upside-down or backwards. 8. PRAISE! 9. Post “Art Room Rules” where all the children can read them. 10. When you mean, “Everyone look up here,” say,”Everyone look up here.” Not “Everyone up here.” Say what you mean. 11. Try not to say “Who can tell me?” You’ll get a better response with, “Tell me” or “Let’s see what you...

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Special Needs Teaching Tips

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 in Resource, What's New? | 0 comments

12 Tips to teaching art to special needs children: 1. Create different levels of lessons since special needs kids have such a wide range of abilities. 2. Know what each student can do—who can cut with scissors, who needs help and who needs a special pair of scissors. 3. Use pre-cut shapes if needed. 4. Keep the projects under 15 minutes, since that’s their typical attention span. Plan more than one activity for each period. 5. Use different textured materials such as sandpaper, felt, fake fur, and cotton to keep the kids interested. It especially works with children who are severely and profoundly impaired since they respond to touch. 6. Do hand-over-hand with SPI kids. For autistic children, you can have them trace over a pattern. 7. With SPI kids especially, talk directly to them to respect their humanness. 8. For SPI kids, touch them, telling them that they look pretty. Treat them with the same respect and courtesy that you show your other students. 9. Respect an autistic child’s need to avoid touch and eye contact. It’s easier for you to adjust your behavior than for them to adjust their own. 10. Glitz and flash are also good. Go for mirrors or glitters or shiny papers. However, be careful—some children will try to eat anything. 11. Use non-toxic materials. Make sure the glue is edible. Butterscotch pudding makes a great finger paint. 12. Go for tactile projects: mold salt and flour dough, make hand prints and...

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Traveling to Ancient Greece

Posted by on Oct 16, 2011 in Resource, What's New? | 0 comments

Traveling to Ancient Greece is a book my 2nd graders wrote and illustrated. PDF

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