Making Art Special: A Curriculum for Special Education Art
by Helen Goren Shafton
There is enthusiasm and clarity that underlies this book. At the outset, the author states: "Welcome and hold on tight because I am tossing you the equivalent of an educational lifeline."
She describes the trials and tribulations of "elementary art-teaching responsibilities expanded to include two small groups of six students with disabilities," in addition to a "usual load of classes that includes a total of approximately 550 students in two schools each week." These same circumstances describe the challenge of many art teachers in elementary schools. Simply put, it is challenging!
This book offers brief descriptions of many lessons that might be taught in any elementary school: Earth Day collage; chalk flower images; bird sculptures; foil painting; monoprints; whimsical mobiles and more. Each is clearly written and includes a single illustration of a completed art form done by a student. The "procedures" are written with non-art teachers in mind. Many art-education professionals will find this content simplistic. Indeed, much in this book can be termed "commonsensical." But, when one needs a "lifeline," common sense provides a great help.
Reviewed by Dr. Jerome J. Hausman and reprinted with permission from the February 2011 issue, Arts & Activities.
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