Some of you who read my previous blog entry (http://ateacherswonderings.posterous.com/help-rageous) know that my students and I inquire into the arts, music and writing as tools for self-expression. Some of you also gave me ideas and links to use – a warm thank you to you!
Reminder: My students are second language learners. They are second graders (7-8 year olds).
I promised I would share our learning journey…So here is how I tried to accomplish my goals:
Change the classroom space – so it would look like and feel like an art room.
– we painted the furniture
– we created a graffiti wall
– we painted the window glass
– we will hang painted fabric on the walls
The focus was on the PROCESS & COLLABORATION rather than the final product.
Create an Inspiration Board – so kids would share and get inspired in return.
Kids brought books, pictures, photographs, quotes, toys, jewelry and whatnot J! They also offered an argument for their choice (How does this inspire you?)
Turn the kids from CONSUMERS into PRODUCERS of artwork
As I am the English language teacher, I focused on Web applications that combine illustrations and writing. We created comics, posters, drawings, stories on Storybird.com. We will also create poetry and photo shows using the links in our class wiki (http://thebunnies.wikispaces.com/COMICS++creator)
Take field trips to art galleries and museums – so students would get to see authentic artwork and meet artists in their workplace
The kids went to 2 art galleries, to a museum, and (wohoo!) to the Institute of Belle Arte where they could actually see college students CREATING art pieces! Seeing artists at work was a powerful experience for them. They will also go a web designer studio and see how technology can impact our notion of art and beauty.
Out of our 3 hours of English daily 2 were spent using Web applications and the blog. Wallwisher, SpicyNodes, Wordle, Scribblar and others (aside from art-related web apps) were used to record student thinking, their creative process and encourage reflection and collaboration.
Bring in guest speakers
We invited the Arts teacher to answer to our questions!
Goal: I would love to Skype with an artist from another part of the world but none has offered so far…(Need to work on my social skills, maybe? So I can motivate people to collaborate…)
Create Reflection Journals – a new, more creative approach
Zoe Elder (@fullonlearning on Twitter), a terrific teacher AND my remote resource of inspiration, was kind enough to let me use her very own journal and I shared it with my students. The kids were all “wows”and “ahas” when seeing that our thinking is more powerful when we “translate” it graphically! Unfortunately, I need to take a new set of photos of their reflection journals because my US drive was in coma L. I also created my own journal which I share with students!
*Zelda’s journal – thinking visually
*My journal – I know, I still need to use more colors 🙂
We have our Wonder Wall and student questions are recorded there. They have personal questions that are pursued until the end of the inquiry unit. I also challenge them with my own questions from time to time (see below).
Encourage THINKING & CREATIVITY
Aside from the very process of creation (of a story, comic, poster etc) I would challenge students in other ways. I posted videos and photos in the class blog and gave students various tasks:
– make your own quote about art
– give us tips on what inspires you to create
– imagine a new scene for the video you watched etc.
Some of the videos and pictures can be viewed below.