Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Exquisite Minds

In an effort to be on top of things after Spring Break, I brought home some artwork to photograph and upload to my digital gallery, Artsonia. I put a giant push on getting all my grading done before break, which made it easier. So, imagine me sitting in my art closet and grading, during my lunch, during my planning, and when I get to school (most days a good hour and a half before I need to), with stacks of 12" by 18" drawings to my left, literally towering over my head. These were the results of the fifth grade collaborative "Graphic Novels" project. Then, to the right of me was another tremendous stack of art, weighted down with old encyclopedias (which will be transformed into "Altered Books" later in the school year). Those pieces of art were the results of the watercolor project for fourth grade, "2 Cartoon Versions". In the flat file drawers, another 220 pieces of art (give or take) is waiting to be graded, the third graders' "2 Environments" watercolors. Here's the thing: these pieces of art are overall, just SO COOL!
Kids are so open at this age, their minds are just, well, exquisite! I admit, I hear at least ten times a day, "I can't do it", or, "I am not a good artist", or even worse, "My mom/dad says 'Art' does not run in our family." But, we push on, nurturing that creativity, working on that eye-hand coordination and higher-order reasoning while simultaneously having some fun.
I found a few quotes about why this matters---nurturing creativity, from "Nurturing the Next Van Gogh":
"The collective understanding puts creativity into two categories — legendary status, like Van Gogh — and everyday creativity, like cooking, scrapbooking, or drawing. Kaufman and Beghetto have dubbed these kinds of creativity “Big C” and “little C.” The problem with this dichotomy, however, is that it privileges the legendary Big C above all else, making it seem that only few have the potential to be creative. From "Nurturing the Next Van Gogh":
"...Kaufman and Beghetto favor what they call the 4 Cs. They’d like to include “mini C”moments, when one has a flash of inspiration or insight that is personally meaningful, but might not matter to anyone else, and “pro C” moments, when someone is an expert in their domain, but the full potential impact over time can’t have been determined yet. With this more complete spectrum of creativity it’s easier to imagine becoming more creative. And, according to the researchers, to move from a “mini C” idea to a “little C,” all that’s needed is some feedback. And to move from “little C” to “pro C” a person just needs practice. "
"With creativity comes uncertainty, which many teachers would prefer to keep out of their classrooms. And, while everyone says they want creative thinkers, creativity isn’t rewarded at the “mini-C” and “little-C” levels. Often the kids who operate at those levels are the ones considered to be distracting the class or straying off track. Because society favors the pro and big-C levels, it’s harder to nurture those lower levels. But it’s important to recognize that students can’t get to be a legendary creative genius without having their creativity nurtured along the way — recognizing the 'little C’s'."

The Sketchbook Project

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

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The journey of process intrigues me and I am always changing it up.

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