Picturing Learning: Artists & Writers in the Classroom

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9780435087951: Picturing Learning: Artists & Writers in the Classroom
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Picturing Learning is the story of how Karen Ernst, a former middle school English teacher, developed an artists workshop parallel to a writers workshop, integrating reading and writing into an elementary art program. The artists workshop includes literature and writing, student choice and collaboration, portfolio as a means of assessment, and exhibition. Students are empowered to learn as they make choices selecting topics and media, discuss art, and share their writing.

The artists workshop shows what is possible as students use writing and picturing as partners to express their meaning and has implications for expanding the writers workshop to include visual ways of knowing. The author's experiences teaching writing to eighth graders and her evolution as an artist influenced and propelled the emerging artists workshop described here. Picturing Learning is rich with examples of student expressions in words and pictures as well as the author's drawings from her research journal, where she captured the learning in her classroom.

Teachers who are knowledgeable of writing process as it relates to whole language can use this book to expand the idea of writers workshop to include the visual ways of knowing. Art teachers eager to integrate the arts in the curriculum will find this book invaluable. Because the author discusses a live classroom with practical methodologies, it is ideal for use as a preservice text.

Picturing Learning describes an entire framework for incorporating the arts into the literacy conversation. Showing clearly how the visual can be a vital component of literacy, it is a prime example of how close observation and teacher research can bring important changes to classrooms and schools.

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About the Author:

Karen Ernst Da Silva's work grows out of her many years as a middle level English teacher and her current work as the art teacher at Kings Highway Elementary School in Westport, Connecticut, where she developed the artists workshop. She also directs a project to help teachers use art and of writing across the curriculum and facilitates a teacher research group that calls itself Community Teachers Learning. Picturing Learning: Artists & Writers in the Classroom (Heinemann, 1994) tells the story of her work in art and writing. Karen's conducts hands-on, practical workshops based on her belief that learning must be theory and practice, the why and how of learning in order to help teachers translate ideas into their own life and classroom practice. She consults on writers' workshop, teacher research, the artists' workshop and how to infuse art into learning across the curriculum to help meet the needs of diverse learners and learning styles.

Review:

“In clear prose complemented by her lively contour drawings, we learn how the author introduced her classes to "the artists' workshop," where her students become artists and writers, seeing their world through drawn and written lines.”–School Arts

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