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on May 28, 2001
As a first year art teacher in a public school setting, I had to figure out lots of strategies & purchased many reference books. None of them have been as useful as A Survival Kit for the Elementary/Middle School Art Teacher. Ms.Hume has obviously "been there." Her presentation of tips, ideas, & multicultural lessons are clear, orderly, & logical. Each lesson includes a page for the teacher (vocabulary, preperation, & alternative projects) as well as one for the student (materials, & directions). There is a section on suggestions for teaching each grade level & a list of themes based on seasons of the year rather than holidays (Bravo Helen). Hume also includes great strategies for writing lesson plans & managing classrooms. I can see this book becoming one of my most treasured (and used) resources.
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on October 12, 2006
This art instruction manual is aptly titled as it is about "survival", offering hassle-free recipe- driven art projects for masses of students. If you were a public school student in the last 40 years the projects will look depressingly familiar--the obligatory construction paper mask, the linoleum block print, the paper mache' animal. What is lacking is an overriding vision of what students may achieve. The "goals" are largely stated by listing vocabulary words but the opportunities for real discovery are thin indeed. As an art teacher of 20 years, I would never rely on construction paper for collage as it is impossible to produce anything with richness from such flat uninteresting papers. The student block print examples show the medium at its least interesting with the images mostly being reverse outline, little exploration of shape or figure-ground reversal. Moreover, it is criminal that a book purporting to be about the development of the visual sense should have reproductions of such appalling quality. Some of them are clearly printing errors since all one can see are dark gray rectangles with a few hints of light. The student examples were grim and to me this is the book's greatest failing. The strength of an art instruction book to me usually lies in the student examples. Mona Brooks and Kaupelis (first name escapes me) produce inspiring books on the basis of their student work alone. On a positive note, the book is well- organized. It could possibly serve as a jumping off point to a teacher with experience and initiative, but for the most part it perpetuates the predictable, mind-numbing experience of the all-too typical 30 minute public school art block.
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on March 8, 2002
I have several books from Helen Hume and this one is excellent for middle school the lessons are easy to follow and once you try them you will enjoy them. If you are interested in other Helen Hume book "the art teacher's book of list", is great and the Survival Kit for the Secondary School Art Teacher. They are all full of ideas and students have lots of fun.
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on March 3, 2006
I would pay $75 for this book. Of the practical books on art in the classroom, this is by far one of the best I have found. I purchased this and "Book of Lists" at the same time and found myself out of touch with the world -reading them cover to cover - for a whole weekend. "Survival" begins with the basics. While the seasoned art teacher may not get anything from this, new art teachers and grade level teachers switching to art will find this book very helpful. The last 3/4 of the book is lesson plan after lesson plan varying from paper and crayon to the most involved activities you could do in an elementary (and middle) setting.

The lessons are very detailed and well organized.

The only thing I wish this book had that it doesn't - best practices of teachers classroom organization methods. This book is definitely worth putting on your wish list.
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on January 10, 2007
I am teaching my second year of art at a local elementary school, where they hire non-certified technicians to teach during the teachers prep time. I bought this book over the summer, and I have loved it so much for what I do.

Many of the simple lessons we do contain important state core requirements, and it is a matter of the proper vocabulary and presentation to the students. This book helps you keep what you are teaching in order, from art history, to criticism and comparison, and even hands on projects or still life sketching..... this book has hundreds of lesson ideas, and I have found them easy to adapt to all age levels. ( I work with 1-5th grades)

One note- I had read in a description that the book contained colored pictures, which is not the case, therefore the art presented in the book is not really a possibility to use in class unless you can get a reproduction somewhere else- which I am limited to do. But I love the age appropriate guide in the beginning, and refer to it often.

I went to a district meeting and had many other techs asking about my resources, and I was happy to refer this book to them. Whether for school, home school, or just personal art education this is book that is well rounded and well stocked. More lesson ideas then you will ever be able to use, and for us with a limited budget, it is still full of tried and true lesson plans and discussion starters.
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on September 1, 2007
It wasn't quite what we were looking for as homeschoolers. All of the pictures are in black and white and many of them are too dark to even see. I felt that some of the directions were a bit unclear. It does not say specifically what grade level each project is, but that the projects get progressivly more difficult. It does give you adaption ideas for younger students on many things. If your looking for fun, neat crafts to make in school, this probably isn't the book for you. This book does cover good topics such as basic line drawing, value, texture, etc. I feel it is a good book to have in conjuction with other art books.
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on July 22, 2006
This book is very comprehensive, and carefully thought out. It is organized nicely enough, however the lack of an index bothers me. As a busy art teacher I sometimes need to find information in a flash. This book doesn't allow for that.

If you are looking for quick and easy craft ideas for items made with many of the popular materials available today (i.e., foam, pom poms, craft sticks, etc.) this book is probably not for you.

There are no color photos in this book. Some of the black and white photo reproductions are so bad I am at a loss to see the subject matter let alone details. However, the illustrations are very easy to appreciate.

This book was copyrighted in the year 2000. Consequently it lacks web addresses. Some company names are included, which can, of course, be searched for online.

If you are yearning to bring meaningful art projects to your students, to learn more about basic techniques, and to enhance your own understanding (and appreciation) of making art--this book definitely IS for you. I do recommend it, but hope I can save some folks the $20+ if it's not what they were hoping for.
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on June 9, 2003
If you teach art to kids then this book is definately a must have for you! Although it involves more of a general overview of what age groups should be at as far as learning skills and techniques, it does give some great general ideas as far as projects for the elementary grades! Great for a teacher just starting out and looking for resources!
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on August 8, 2004
This is a must have book for all art ed teachers. Highly recommend for first year teachers. I just bought it now as a third year teacher and I wish I would have bought it sooner.
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on August 20, 2006
I have been teaching art to children for nearly 7 years now, as well as having had my own fifth grade homeroom for 4 years, and this book is still a great resource. I bought it because I had borrowed it from another art educator and found it too helpful to miss. Some are new tips, some reminders, and loads of great projects. My only complaint is that the student work examples were horribly photographed and are often too dark and thus disappointing but still somewhat readable. Knowing this, I still bought it for the great content.
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