I really enjoyed the conference this past Monday, and I was inspired by everyone's creativity to improve my integration program. One of the things that's bothered me about it is that I do all the work and then go into the classroom for a one-time lecture. We all know that kids learn best when they do the work on their own (and free their teachers to grade papers); many of your great presentations reminded me of that.
The circumstances of my program prevent me from working with the Tanakh classes on a regular basis on an integration program that they create. However, I do meet with my Art History class every day and I expect them to function on a very high, independent level because the class is an AP. The administration and I had decided against doing a Shir Hashirim presentation, but I thought to myself this week that I should get my Art History class to make one, using a theme that was transferable to art.
Today I assigned the project. The students are responsible for two artworks that they have to prepare as PowerPoint slides, including notes. The artworks will take the Nach classes through art that is inspired by lush, spring landscapes and fauna. We'll start with the ancient Near East and the ancient world and then progress through the Middle Ages -- images of Mary in the garden -- to the Rococo era and the Hudson River School. The Nach classes will particularly benefit from the art of the ancient world, because that's closest to Shir Hashirim, obviously. My art history students will benefit from a review of the ancient world plus the preparation of artworks we haven't studied yet and need to for the exam.
The kids are very excited about the project, especially by the idea of presenting the lecture themselves. I thank all of you for being my inspiration!