Social Justice Art for Visual Arts K-2 students! It can be done!

Maileen Arroyo- Santiago PS/MS194x

Student teaching in 2010 at my future job in 2013!

Hello, This is my first time writing on a blog and I am excited to do so!

My name is Maileen Arroyo- Santiago. I have been married for 14 years and I have 3 children, two girls ages 9 and 6 and a boy age 2. My family is my life and I couldn’t have accomplished all of my success with out their help and support.

I worked for the Department of Education as a Paraprofessional for 10 years and I have been a Visual Arts Educator for 2 years now. My time as a Paraprofessional was a long but fruitful experience learning and teaching students and teachers of different classes and races.

For my masters thesis I want to motivate and challenge k-2 art teachers intellectually in the necessity of learning about social issues and culturally relevant pedagogy above and beyond what is rudimentarily taught in basic visual art classes. I would like to encourage teachers to think outside of the box and teach lessons that not only teach students about line shape and color but to also interject meaningful real life issues into their lessons. In my research I will demonstrate the need for this kind of teaching in Visual Arts education with concrete examples of lesson plans for small children, and teacher narratives about how they implement these topics in the classrooms of kindergarten, first, and second grade students.

Finally, I would like to address how crucial it is to teach these topics at such an early age, and advocate for the possible impact of the absence of teaching through this lens in K-2 grade Visual Art classrooms. These kinds of results have the potential to form curriculum enhancement, and based on that notion this research can be important to the field of art.

Below I have included kindergarten ideas of incorporating real life lessons to young children, and some pictures of the children I have taught. In this lesson we talked about how it is okay to be different and how our differences make us beautiful. We worked on self-portraits and I showed them multicultural crayons and the color variety. We talked about what makes people different and how we must have love for all people because we have one important thing that is the same, which is our heart. I have also included other links I have come across in my research for more ideas.

I hope that these ideas may serve as inspiration to new teacher lessons and creativity.

Thank you!

Turning a drawing lesson into something more when you incorporate how our differences make us special.

Turning a drawing lesson into something more when you incorporate how our differences make us special.

Drawing what we see

Drawing what we see

Unsure about her picture and she is wondering if she should add more hair because she is a girl.

Unsure about her picture and she is wondering if she should add more hair because she is a girl.

About Using Their Words:

This site features the work of Dr. Bree Picower and her students.  Bree Picower is an Assistant Professor at Montclair State University in the College of Education and Human Development. This site features blogs from Dr. Picower’s students as they engage in teaching about social issues and engage their students in social action.  It also includes an extensive annotated bibliography maintained by her students of social justice books for elementary students.

Amanda’s Tale of Two Cities:

Written by Jennifer Spitz

In this slide presentation I found how difficult situations could be talked about by a simple story or a Power Point presentation. Amanda’s Tale of Two Cities is a children’s story meant to help children come to terms with their developing sense of themselves in the world.  This story is particularly helpful to read with children of more privileged backgrounds, particularly White children who have little exposure to diversity, to support them in developing empathy, solidarity and critical awareness.

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