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EDUCATOR e-NEWS

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March 2011
Fiery Pool: Make Reservations to Bring Your Class
Main Exhibition Galleries, February 13–May 8, 2011

Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea brings together over 90 works, many never before seen in the United States, to offer exciting insights into the culture of the ancient Maya. Surrounded by the sea and dependent on the life-giving power of rain and clouds, the ancient Maya created fantastic objects imbued with the symbolic power of water.

This exhibition presents four thematic sections — Water and Cosmos, Creatures of the Fiery Pool, Navigating the Cosmos, and Birth to Rebirth — that explore the different ways Maya artists represented water, from setting religious narratives in watery domains to using shells and other exotic materials acquired through coastal trade networks.

Click here for Fiery Pool teaching suggestions and to learn about special group ticket prices for students and their teachers.
Share the Experience: Become a Museum Docent
In preparation for the opening of the new museum expansion in 2013, the Museum is now seeking applicants for the Docent Program — and we would like to encourage transitioning classroom teachers of all disciplines and grade levels to apply.

Docents have a love of learning and communicating with groups of all ages, helping school groups and visitors connect with works of art in new and exciting ways. In the words of Joyce Bluett, who taught in the Ferguson-Florissant School District for 31 years and is about to complete her docent training, “You are the doorway that leads students to art.
What You Missed: Exploring Art Through Drama
“The Kinesthetic Museum”, a professional development workshop at SLAM in February, explored a whole range of interactive, on-your-feet techniques to look at, relate to, and think about visual art.

In galleries across the Museum, the fantastic education staff from Metro Theater Company introduced teachers to drama and kinesthetic strategies designed to create deep and meaningful connections with works of art.

Educators collaborated, moved, and performed with memorable works from the collection, including John Martin’s Sadak in Search of the Waters of Oblivion (1812) and Anselm Kiefer’s Burning Rods (1984-87). One teacher commented, “The whole experience of integrating visual art, movement, and music into classroom experiences was reinvigorating!”

Participants in the workshop left with a bag full of new ideas to use in their everyday curriculum ... or on their next field trip to the Museum.

A huge thanks to everyone at Metro Theater Company for making this amazing experience possible!
New Curriculum Packet
The Museum has just released a new curriculum packet on Modern Art, one of its most well-known and beloved collections. Twenty posters feature French Impressionism, German Expressionism, and early twentieth century artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Max Beckman.

A teacher’s guide pairs the works for compare and contrast activities. The guide also contains a five-lesson unit on digital storytelling by Museum staff and plans for studio lessons by Museum master teacher Carla Tuetken.

The packet can be accessed on the SLAM web site at www.slam.org/moderneuropean.
Young Poets Inspired by
SLAM's Culturally Diverse Collections
Susan Grigsby, Teaching Artist for the St. Louis Poetry Center, recently visited the Museum to explore art from cultures from around the world with ESOL students at Mason Elementary School (SLPS).

Susan writes:

I can think of no better place in town to take children to, to explore the many cultures of the world, than the Saint Louis Art Museum. The St. Louis Poetry Center and the Art Museum, as Arts Partners with Interchange, recently worked with Ms. Julia Goodon’s ESOL students at Mason Elementary in a residency entitled “Exploring Personal and Cultural Identities through Poetry”. We used posters from the Art Museum’s Curriculum Kits in the classroom on several occasions as sparks for writing poetry and as practice in learning to look closely at works of art.

The residency culminated in thirty of the students, grades 5 and 6, visiting the Museum and joyfully experiencing first-hand the works of art they’d come to know in the classroom. The students, from countries including Iraq, Kenya, Somalia, Nepal, Kurdistan, and Mexico, also visited works of art from their countries of origin and shared memories and experiences brought to mind by different cultural objects.

The docents who led the tours engaged the students, allowing them time to look deeply, think, and respond to individual works of art by drawing, writing, and discussion. The visit concluded with the students creating art that included personal symbols of their own design and symbols seen in the galleries. They were beaming with joy and interest and begged to stay longer. “This was the best field trip ever,” echoed up and down the lines as we waited to board the bus and return to school.

Do you have your own Museum teaching experience to relate? Send your contribution to Educator.newsletter@slam.org.
Saint Louis Public Schools
Visual Art Teacher of the Year Awards
The Saint Louis Art Museum is pleased to host the 2012 St. Louis Public Schools Visual Art Teacher of the Year Awards. This honor is given in recognition of an outstanding arts educator teaching in the Saint Louis Public School district.

The award was created as a way of acknowledging the significant role that art educators play in the education of students. One teacher at the kindergarten through eighth-grade levels, and another educator at the high school level will be selected to receive the award.

Candidates must be nominated by a professional colleague; provide letters of recommendation from both his/ her principal and a colleague of his/ her choice; be currently employed as a full-time certified visual art teacher in the St. Louis Public Schools; and have at least three years of experience teaching visual arts in the SLPS system.

The St. Louis Public Schools Visual Art Teacher of the Year Awards reception will be held on Wednesday, December 5, 2012, from 5:00–7:00 p.m. The Awards are made possible through the Parsons Blewett Memorial Fund and donations to the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation.