Problems are always changing from year to year and with each individual class.  As an elementary arts educator and teaching an estimated 40 different classes per week, various problems arise.  However, what one problem seems to always be there???  Day after day, week after week my students and I struggle with time.  We see each other for what is supposed to be 35 minutes, however this number begins to dwindle as you put into consideration many logistics – that we work bell to bell so there is no time to let one class out and the other in (we are down to 33 minutes), or if a teacher brings their class late (we are down to 31 minutes), or if students are making great connections with their thoughts or works and just can’t seem to get out of the door (we are down to 29 minutes), or taking attendance and getting the students calm (we are down to 28 minutes), or giving instruction – you get the picture.  Time- an ongoing “problem” that I’m not sure could be created into an inquiry idea for exploration.

With the limited time that we share, how can we open up inquiry based learning to young students and when do you use a more direct instruction based approach?  This is a common thread that “The Balancing Act” CIG will be exploring.  It will be interesting to see what the differences are between the elementary and high school levels.  Many people in my CIG have been inquiring a similar question to this in the past, they will be a great resource as I make hypothesis on what will and will not work in the elementary art room.

I feel that I am often inspired and/or learning from my students.  They make me want to take a new approach at techniques and ideas.  However, with inquiry in their hands it will take on a whole new level of learning for the “educator”.  Who is learning from who?  This changes the entire dynamics of a classroom and seems that it will create a high level of engaged learning for all.

In response to Quote #6 I would say that collecting relevant data to make instructional decisions is something that I have experience with.  Last year my CIG conducted an activity to get student input so that we would have an understanding of their overall thoughts on the project.  After the activity we averaged the scores and came up with our findings.