Today I engaged my sixth graders in a lesson on graffiti art. And while I was silently sweating over how many phone calls I might receive from irate parents, my students were discussing the meaning of art, what makes someone an artist, the purpose of street art, and the importance of pushing boundaries. And I think it’s fair to say, they had a great time.
When it was time to create their own graffiti inspired art, hands across the room shot up with questions. “Can I do this?” “Can I include this?” “But what if I…?” “Well, how about…?”
Is there anything as frustrating as having to censor your students? To hear ideas flowing, eager voices filled with excitement, and then to have to tell them that, um, no, they can’t include that in their art work. Or that. Or that. You know, lest it offend someone. It must be elementary school appropriate!
I know I’m not alone here. How do you deal with the artist/teacher conflict when it comes to what is “appropriate for school”?