Local Teachers, Inspired by Mithila, Create Curriculum

After hearing Rani Jha discuss her painting in February 2014, three art teachers from the Central Square School District—Katie Fitzsimmons, Sarah Lekki, and Amber Cerio—were inspired to create a series of lesson plans that focused on Mithila for grades K-5. After they met with Dr. Susan Wadley for additional information on the art form, including looking at the Mithila collection at SU Galleries, they spent the rest of the spring developing the lesson plans, which can be found on the South Asia Center website (http://www.maxwell.syr.edu/moynihan/sac/Classroom_Resources/). They were able to present their ideas on the lessons to other teachers at the Einaudi Center International Studies Summer Institute (ISSI) at Cornell in June and implemented the lessons this Fall. 

In reflecting on their experiences putting together the lesson plans, Katie wrote in an email, “We loved working with the South Asia Center on writing this unit and lessons.”  She went on to say, “Our students love the unit.  We had originally planned a few classes of work time for our students and they loved it so much it took longer! Our students were able to make connections to their own lives based off of hearing how the people of Mithila live.  They loved the symbolism in the animals and many students in our fifth grade incorporated different ideas from each grade level below theirs.  We are looking forward to teaching these lessons again and glad that our student had such a positive learning outcome.” Below are some examples of the artwork that their students produced. The  elephant was decorated by a 2nd grader, the turtle was designed by a 1st grader and the woman was painted by a 5th grader. 

Fitzsimmons, Lekki, and Cerio also presented their lesson plans along with Dr. Wadley at a professional development workshop on March 19, 2015 at the Central New York-Oswego County Teacher’s Training Center.

 Coloful painting of ElephantColorful painting of turtleColorful painting of a woman