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.