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Thursday, October 4, 2012

How do you handle "Holiday" art?



Years ago, I was an unenlightened art teacher...Then, I saw the light. There was a big move away from "Holiday" art and I jumped on the moving train. Teaching kids how to make Easter bunnies, Santa's in a sleigh, and fish made out of hearts just wasn't a proper way to teach "ART" to children. So, I stopped. For about 15 years. And then, I found Pinterest........Uh oh! All of a sudden, there were spooky Halloween pictures on my bulletin boards. And then there were holiday trees with glitter and on and on and on! Unlike those of you who are in the beginning of your art teaching careers, I am beginning to wrap mine up in the next couple of years. I feel a certain sense of , shall we say, freedom from the "shoulds"? If I see a cute, fun holday-esque project, I'm all over it! I did "Holiday" art when I was a kid and my sense of artistic integrity wasn't warped! It may even have had something to do with my career choice! All I'm saying is this, if the cottonball tail fits? Glue it!
(these opinions are not those of my school district, but mine alone)

13 comments:

Painting With Brains said...

When I was student teaching, my adviser made "holiday" art seem like the worst thing in the world. And I understood her point- it's very cookie-cutter, very motor-skill based- not really allowing for individualism and self-expression and all that good stuff. But truthfully, I can remember being little and making some of that stuff...and it was AWESOME! Also, my mom, who is not an "artsy" person, adored it. She's saved every goofy "holiday" art work my four siblings and I have ever made.

I say go for it!

And? Your bat kitty is so cute I almost died.

Mr. E said...

I do not do holiday art at all(though I do sneak a few turkeys in...love thanksgiving!!!. I'm actually getting ready to write an article on this topic for the Nashville Arts Mag. Online. We are a melting pot here in Nashville. We have lots of JW's(they do not celebrate ANYTHING), Muslims(who don't celebrate a lot of things)....and a bit of this and that I've heard over the years don't celebrate some things. I don't want to make anyone feel out of the loop in our projects...so we do seasons. Plus, a Fall pic lasts from Sept till the end of Nov without getting old. A jack-o-lantern doesn't seem right when the turkeys are out! :) ha ha

Miss said...

I know- it's so wierd how Holiday art has always been such a contentious issue with some art teachers. Like others have mentioned, I too, loved doing holiday art projects in school- in fact, it was the only art I ever got until Grade 10 as Art wasn't offered in my school until high school as an option. So I cherished those projects!! (ie: elf made from a toilet tube and felt ;)

Holiday art doesn't need to be cut and paste or cookie cutter- there are lots of opportunities for open-ended and creative freedom depending on the project. I find my students (even high schoolers) request holiday projects every year.

I also agree, however, that you need to know your student demographics. So for Christmas, for example, we paint gingerbread houses or snowglobes and I've never had a complaint from any of my Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or Sikh families. On the other hand, I wouldn't do a Santa or Christmas tree project project unless I knew all of my students celebrated Christmas.

Mrs. C said...

I do seasonal art, not holiday due to having many children who do not celebrate some or all of the holidays. I will though make up several seasonal/holiday activity sheets for early finished students. they can pick from what they want. I am doing a couple of projects right now with pumpkins in them and had to go through the whole " there are no faces on these pumpkins" :)

Phyl said...

Being Jewish, I made a decision years ago to do seasonal art, but not holiday art. (though I made an exception now and then, especially for Halloween and Valentine's Day). So yes, gingerbread houses or snowmen, but no to Santa Claus or Easter bunnies. I love seasonal art and could justify it in regards to curriculum. With the focus now on common core and assessments etc, and the stress everyone is under aligning with these new regulations, I don't feel, if I was still teaching, that I could easily justify giving up a lot of time to holiday art. But it is easier to fit in the seasonal stuff. Am I making sense? Or does the fact that I am in Las Vegas right now have my brain muddled?

Christie - Fine Lines said...

I do some seasonal art (no holiday art) and although I model seasonal, I sometimes have kids sneak in those little holiday touches -- and I, for the most part say "fine!" I am sure that their families will love whatever they do and that they will be in keeping with their culture.

Mrs. Impey said...

I try to do more seasonal art than holiday art, but I allow the kids to add in their own holiday elements if they want to. The school I teach at is not very diverse when it comes to religions and we still have Santa come visit at Christmas time and a Halloween costume parade through the gym in October. I teach in a small district, our building is K-12 and has about 500 students tops...I believe we have maybe three families who are Jahovah's Witness and don't the holidays of Christmas and such.

At Christmas time I like to do projects revolving around snow (like landscapes, snowmen and snow globes). At Halloween, I go for the "spooky" aspect in art (silhouettes, art with a night theme, etc.) and with the older kids, I teach them about the Day of the Dead and we compare those traditions and how that holiday began with the commercialized "holiday" of Halloween. Around Valentine's day, I try to incorporate Jim Dine projects and at Easter time, I do spring projects, not Easter bunnies and Easter eggs.

Please check out my blog! www.artroom104.blogspot.com

Nancie Kay said...

Can't remember the last time I did any projects associated with a holiday - unless it was a Valentine's Day-associated artwork. Too many standards to fit in each grading period so most artworks have to cover several elements & principles at once.
Living in the Southwest & a desert environment we don't have a noticeable change in season like the rest of the country - miss those beautiful oak & maple trees this time of year!
I enjoy the postings of others around holidays IF there is an obvious attempt at teaching elements/principles and a unique look to each child's artistic expression.
There is a definite place for cookie-cutter craft work for kids to get extra practice w/skills and materials but I think it should be done outside of 'art class' and during 'arts & craft' time...

Jen said...

Seasonal art seems like a good idea to me. Here's the deal. If I am teaching them a concept but connecting it with a season we are in. I call that a success.

Sure, you sometimes need to tweak things, especially if their are religions that don't permit it, but still, I don't think I feel warped from doing holiday art when I was younger.

tinyartroom said...

If you just glimpse my blog I think you'll see I am a seasonal and sometimes even holiday artwork lovin' art teacher. I always ask my home room teachers about any students they are aware of that have certain beliefs that prevent them from participating. There is almost always a way to add to or take away from a project to make it acceptable for anyone. Like someone else said, many times students will ask me if they can add something (like a face) to their pumpkin to make it a jack-o-lantern and I don't think it's my place to say no to that either. When I do Picasso's Monters (thanks, Mrs. Pocasso!) I offer an alien in addition to witches and frankensteins and all that. Just because its seasonal doesn't mean it isn't art! Keep up the great work!

dmasse said...

i dont do holidays:) well, halloween cause its super cool.

Art Project Girl said...

I tried to leave a comment but don't think it went through!

If a kid wants to paint a face on his pumpkin I say BUCK the SYSTEM kid. We need more people like you in this world, follow your happiness. and put a word bubble in there while you're at it! Heck, make it say "Merry Christmas!" just to make everyone crazy.

I don't do too much holiday art but somehow, end up with a lot of it! Teaching 650 plus kids in the week under the conditions that we do, a face on a pumpkin is the least of my concerns.

Art Project Girl said...

Love ya Pat! and sprinkle some extra glitter just for me:)