The visual arts will create the next generation of people who use higher level thinking skills. Art teaches students to think for themselves, be empathizers, and solve problems that have no answers. Everything we see has been touched in some way by an artist. Students need to be versed in visual literacy in order to survive in this ever changing technological world. Get creative, take an art class!
I have been making masks with kids for a long time and this one was so unusual, I had to take a pic of it. I love, love, love the hair! This student was so proud of hers. Just so cool to see students trying to use materials in new and intersting ways. We are on our way to creating innovative thinkers!
I am starting movies with all students in the upper elementary school. This involves working in groups. First comes the groans..."awwww" when they find out who they will work with. (bullying) Then the DRAMA! She won't let me, they won't listen to me, they are being mean! Wow, why can't we just get along? I don't want to be the Superwoman swooping in to save the day. But how can I give them tools to be successful team players and not expect me to solve all their group's problems? HELP!!!!
Ever since I was told that regular education teachers teach art by someone, I have been floored at how art is viewed by most people in the community. First off I don't feel as though MOST people have had a quality art experience in their lives. Most teachers say " this is what were making today kids and it needs to look like mine. This is how I will gage if you are successful." WHAT! That is art? In what world is it ok to think that every student's project will look like the teacher's? I thought art was supposed to be creative? Creativity is when ideas are different and have meaning. So wait, wait, I think I understand since your teacher taught you "art" when you were a kid, anyone can teach it? Since the older generations didn't have art in schools that means it is not needed? Hmmmm...not too smart.
Now not to say that craft is not fun or valid, it is, but DON'T call it art, PLEASE. Crafts are a no brainer, no thinking is involved, you just follow the steps and get something pretty. You use your fine motor skills, which is something that kids need MORE of. But please don't you dare call it art.
In my opinion there are less people in this world who think they are creative because they have never been given the opportunity to do so. Schools make it a habit of giving a master blueprint of what something should be or look like. Which squishes creativity to the core. Some teachers themselves cringe at the thought of there not being a "right" answer or a "right" way to do something. Or that the teacher does not have all the answers. I feel like what a cool world, no correct ways of doing something or wrong ways of doing something, trial, error, thinking, wondering, more errors, what could be more fun?
A teacher came to me a started talking about the way I teach and plan lessons. She is very Left brained: steps, a plan, right answers, grades. After a bit of telling me that some students find it hard to choose a character from a book and make that character into a weaving, I found myself in new territory. They need steps she said, they need to know what the final outcome will be. Wait why should we know what the final outcome will be or that there must be steps? Life and our job market does not allow or even value that type of thinking so those kids are going to get left behind. Jobs that require steps and certainty are being shipped to China, India, and other countries that can do it faster and cheaper than the US. So what do we do with our schools? We take more creativity out of them as we make cuts? Isn't this INSANE! That is what I thought.
Art is the essence of creativity and the creative way of life. Students want to know the right answers and teachers want to give it to them.They do this why, because it is easier, faster, more productive? Because the tests say that they need to do it that way? Why are we teaching this way? We are creating kids who can spew back information, take tests, and answer questions by memorization. Where are the unique ideas, creating solutions, and making independent thinkers?
I believe that art creates more problems than solutions. If students are not making mistakes than I am not doing my job. Some kids say " this is hard". I say "challenging, yes it should be. I like it when you are challenged, it tells me that I am doing my job as an art teacher". Students should find things challenging because they will make mistakes and the knee jerk reaction is to raise their hands and the teacher solve the problem for them. Or crying will work for this coping mechanism as well. Either way I don't touch what they do. I ask "what would you like to do about the problem?" This is usually followed up with an I don't know (knee jerk reaction). Then I say think about it and I will come back. What ever you come up with is the right answer for you and if you mess up again the art police are not going to come and take you away. Now most kids will try and fix it themselves, not how I would have done it, but they learned that they too have the answers too. I make sure they know their projects should NOT look like mine, that is boring. Rather try something that no one else would think of. Now in what way do crafts do this? Yes crafts are cute and break up the day, but don't, please... DON'T CALL IT ART!!!!
Trying a new endeavour with my students with a stop motion movie. I must be insane! But I did get some really great ideas from Art Education 2.0! Why doesn't everyone know about this site? Too cool! I also found some really great ideas from this site: Teach Animation. Let's see if I can get this one off the ground. May need some support.