Thursday, April 7, 2016

It's a blog revival

I had just about given up on this blog.  My teaching philosophy has changed a lot over the years and a lot of the older content on this blog is very teacher directed, in a "25 versions of the same thing" kind of way.  Over the last few years, and through coursework in Cultures of Thinking and the various models of Choice Based Art Education, I am working to do the following:

  • leverage student voice and personal relevancy in their art making
  • actively encourage collaboration (in art creation, idea generation, and formative assessment)
  • use the Studio Habits of Mind to foster a culture of critical thinking 
  • take a purposeful step back to allow the students to own their cognitive and creative work
After a long conversation with the wonderful @andyvasily at EARCOS in Manila last week (he is joining our staff here at KAUST and I cannot be happier!), I decided to keep the blog as evidence that teaching is an iterative process, even after 17 years and five countries. 

I thought I'd share one example of "then and now" in action.  On the left is a group of Vejicante Masks that I made with students in Phnom Penh way back in 2007.  Why I was doing Puerto Rican masks in Cambodia when there is a rich tradition of masks in Khmer folklore is the topic for another blog post! On the right is a group of masks that my 4th graders here at KAUST recently finished.  Certainly much more variety and evidence of student choice on the right.  Their Studio Habits of Mind based reflections often shine an interesting light on the rationale behind the artistic choices they made.

Could I take this even further on the choice spectrum and open it up more to how the kids choose to demonstrate their understanding of the concepts?  Absolutely and I look forward to the challenge.

How has your teaching philosophy changed since you started?

And a few more shots of the masks for the Pinterest addicts among us:


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  2. The masks that your students created are wonderful! I currently teach 6th grade, and I am constantly trying to find ways to integrate art into our PYP units of inquiry. It's challenging to find student-centered learning art activities! This a very engaging activity and can even be used as a form of student assessment.

    Your "then vs. now" comparison of this activity is spot-on! In art, teachers tend to give rigid instructions to students regarding specific techniques, color palettes, etc. I think that modeling is still an important part of art instruction, but providing students an opportunity to create their own interpretation will truly show their understanding. They will also develop a sense of ownership with their unique artwork as opposed to producing an almost identical copy of the original/sample. For our PYP Exhibition, my students created a mural for each of the countries they focused on containing 6-8 cultural symbols or words related to a specific global issue. During collaboration, I observed that students really thought about and discussed which symbols best represented their country of focus. Next school year, I'd like to integrate your amazing art lesson in one of our units!

    Thanks for the inspiration :)

    1. Thanks for your comment, Pamela-- I would love to know more about what you did for Exhibition, do you have any photos to share?

  3. Its only taken me 30 days to read my blogroll! But welcome back to blogger world lady :D