By design, students in St. Anne’s middle school do not choose one art for the year, but rather take one trimester each of art, drama, and music every year. By requiring exposure to each subject, students are able to avoid the pitfall of picking arts classes based on peer choices and preconceived notions about their abilities. The number of students who in turn discover an unexpected affinity because of this experience always surprises me. Never ones to rest on a good program, though, Mr. Sigler, Ms. Gilbert and Mr. Lemire have put together a new 8th-grade arts choice program as an alternative to their typical rotation of “ADM” (Art, Drama, Music). Last spring, 7th graders (now in 8th) voted on the different areas they wanted to learn as a group and then ranked their top choices in each area. Incredibly, over the summer, the three arts teachers learned new skills and put together curricula to support those choices. This fall, we had eighth graders playing ukuleles in music, creating large sculptures in art, and focusing on acting (as opposed to writing). With similarly interested groups of 8th-grade students learning together, these classes have accomplished amazing things, from uke playing at all-school events to creating beautiful large sculptures to performing a wonderful play on stereotypes and assumptions. For the second trimester, the ADM program will feature a musical, metal smithing, and a music course directed at using Garageband.
An excerpt from Sumant Bhat’s blog.
Read the entire post at http://saes-msheadbhat.blogspot.com/2015/11/autonomy-and-choice.html