In My Room

That is my fantasy in both personal and professional spheres. My own room! How splendid. Space. Quiet. Privacy. Control, I guess. Maybe I'm tired of sharing. Maybe I don't play well with others. Maybe I have unresolved issues related to the birth of my brother in 1958, for crying out loud. Or maybe I just want to be the creative scenic director for this production.

Here are the Beach Boys' lyrics in case you need a fix:

There's a world where I can go and tell my secrets to
In my room, in my room
In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears
In my room, in my room

Do my dreaming and my scheming
Lie awake and pray
Do my crying and my sighing
Laugh at yesterday

Now it's dark and I'm alone
But I won't be afraid
In my room, in my room
In my room, in my room
In my room, in my room

Now, that's darker than I had in mind. I just want to create a teaching environment with plants, rocks, shells, surprises, lizards, turtles, magnifying glasses, prisms, and maybe an aquarium. I'd like to hang a birdfeeder and windchimes outside the window, and plant canna bulbs or sunflowers. I want to sprout sweet potatoes and let the vines go every which-way across the suspended ceiling. Newsprint and markers on the shelves for sketching... Maybe even twinkly lights sparkling on a garden arch... An art room should be a magical place. That is true whether you are a preschooler or a college student. Professor Butt's classroom was as much a conservatory for bromeliads as it was a classroom for watercolor students. I will take my bromeliads to work this year. [I can see the media campaign for National Take Your Bromeliad to Work Day].

I like having a puzzle table in my classroom. Puzzles help kids learn to visualize and manipulate shapes. And building toys! How can we create our own building systems for structures and mobiles this year? I am still pondering that afghan of crocheted recording tape that I saw at the Albuquerque Museum of Art.

Visiting the Girard Collection at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe reminded me that art is about play. The wonderful processions of miniatures from one hundred different countries aren't really so different from my students' creations of castles, troll houses, castaway islands, and jungle safari camps with tiny clothespin people. As I toured the museum I watched many young families. I have never seen kids so engaged at a museum--well, except for maybe little boys at the battle diorama at the Alamo.

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