One of my greatest joys as an art teacher is bringing my students each year to visit the Detroit Institute of Arts. The DIA not only offers Wayne county residents free admission but they also provide complimentary bussing for schools as well! This year our sixth graders started out their first module by diving deep into greek mythology. I knew that the DIA’s ancient Greek and Roman art collections would be the perfect place to bring our learning to life! In their studies in ELA class students read classic myths and learned how to write their own narratives about a hero's journey. As a cross-curricular art component we studied the importance of ancient greek pottery and looked at detailed vase paintings that have been used to tell stories of greek life for centuries. By taking our learning from the art room and into the museum, students were able to apply their knowledge of art history and vocabulary to actual artifacts and make first hand observations in the real world.
Through teaching at an Expeditionary Learning school I am able to collaborate closely with each grade level teacher to help plan, facilitate, and present student work. I help students create authentic and high quality final products that are directly aligned with their learning at the end of each module. Through our work in the art room and from our visit to the DIA, sixth graders created some truly beautiful examples of excellence! This type of curriculum encourages students to become experts on each subject and relies on the importance of fieldwork to guide them. Sixth graders were eager to do research for their art projects in the real world. It was pretty evident throughout their adventure at the Detroit Institute of Arts that the students were more engaged than they may have been spending the hour at school seeing only pictures of the artwork from their desks.