A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament. -Oscar Wilde
As a classroom teacher, I see many personalities and temperaments daily. As we work together, it is impossible not to know a child’s likes or dislikes, their interests and what turns them off. All of my students want to shine. Some shine more brilliantly than others, in a way that no one can miss. Others shine more softly and feathery, like the moonlight. The key is to weave these differences together into a tapestry that works and thrives together in a classroom.
One thing they all have in common is the love of art. They love going to art class for special area and they love cutting, gluing, pasting, coloring and painting in class. Most of them create excitedly and without hesitation, but a few of them have been bitten by the “not good enough” bug and are afraid to draw a bold line and get started for fear of doing it wrong. When my students are creating, their engagement is nearly unbreakable. So, why do we put art off until “after you finish your work?” In our class, when we are creating content, art is a necessary part of the process.
As adults, sometimes we see art as frivolous and something one does in one’s free time. (And really, how much of THAT do we have?) When we remove creativity and creation from our classrooms, we are teaching our children that it doesn’t have value…their creative selves are to be kept separate from their thinking selves. Art is so much more than drawing and coloring. Art is photography, music, poetry, writing, film making, and more. How can these not play an important role in learning? When students are able to use their talents, or develop and explore talents they didn’t know they had, they are learning how to be diverse individuals who have something unique to contribute.
I’ve always been interested in photography, but never really pursued it for many reasons, all mostly just excuses. I finally made room in my life for it and can’t believe what I have missed out on for so long in not pursuing it. I can’t imagine my life now, without it!
As I watch my students work individually and collaboratively on projects, it is gratifying to see them encouraging each other as they work on creating content. The creation apps on our iPads such as Explain Everything, Book Creator, Pic Collage, Strip Designer, Popplet and iMovie all contribute to the wealth of workflow in our curriculum. Each piece of work is as different and unique as the child that created it. And THAT is exactly why I teach…to celebrate and develop the uniqueness of each child.
I encourage and challenge you to look for the art in your classroom. Is it put on the shelf for when work is finished or is it integrated into the workflow of the day as a regular part of learning?
Today we will do exciting new things…let’s get to it!