Once again, I am going to middle school. As an "artist in residence," I will be guiding students (Four classes this time!) through art projects of epic proportions as enhancements to interdisciplinary units.
The themes this year are culture and conflict.
Culture: The 6th grade classes are answering the question, "How does where you live affect how you live?" These classes will study how various other cultures meet their needs of food, shelter, education, religion, government, material possessions, clothing, family. Geographic luck plays an important role in basic survival needs such as what types of food will grow in a particular climate, or what building materials are available. These factors form the basis for the rest of the society.
Conflict: The 7th grade classes I will be working with are exploring the nature of conflict. Each student will be researching a significant conflict in history, and discussing the conflict through the lens of a game of chess. Students will explore points of view, strategy, power, balance, black vs. white (in the metaphorical sense), and stalemate. The overarching theme in both chess and conflict is that two objects (or ideas) cannot occupy the same space at the same time.
More on the art for each theme later. There were a couple of changes to policy for me working in the school this year (or stricter enforcement of existing policy). As a contracted district employee, I needed to be fingerprinted, background checked and photgraphed for an ID badge, to be worn at all times in the school. I have already been fingerprinted and background checked in connection to working with these very students through other programs, but apparently it needed to be done again. Not that I mind; it's a hoop I think everyone everywhere who works with other people's children should have to jump through.
My favorite part of my new ID badge: the title under my picture is "Artist."
All Culture and Conflict posts can be found under the topic heading: Diversion Audit.