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Mancala boards...How I get ideas

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From: JDecker (JDecker_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Feb 10 2001 - 10:04:26 PST


> - where do you come up with your ideas? ~Michal

I saw an alligator board in a book. The book featured a museum collection on
mancala boards from around the world. Our Tech teacher and I did an
interdisciplinary unit for three years based on a board she saw in the same
book (and all I asked her was for one mancala board--life is grand! I got so
excited about this unit that I bought two African mancala boards to whet the
appetite of the students).
http://www2.wcoil.com/~mdecker/mancala.htm
I always get my ideas from looking at books on cultural art and fine art
(gift magazines are a good source too---I saw a planter shaped like a
zebra). I look at the things I like and think "How can I do that with
kids?".....It is funny how sometimes teachers get similar ideas by looking
at similar works of art (even if they are in different books...giggle). I
had a co-worker who told me once I "stole" her idea and couldn't use it. My
project was not anything like hers--just was also inspired by Pop Art--Andy
Warhol...Funny thing...I haven't done it since---not because of her
insistence as she is no longer in my district--I don't do it because I no
longer admire Andy Warhol (I believe in character education with every
unit.....so don't ever tell me anything nasty you hear or read about the
artists I do---ha-ha...I found out about Andy on my own). I guess this is
another astonishing thing I like about this ArtEdTalk list---Ideas are free!
This list invites other art teachers to "steal" ideas...and we are flattered
when another teacher likes our idea--so flattered that when we see it appear
we thank them for finding our ideas useful....If only the "Real World" was
more like our list.

Judy Decker

P.S. > - where do you come up with your ideas? ~Michal
Truthfully---it helps to be just a bit wacko, too (smile all who "know" me).
I like challenges...Originally ALL of the students in my 7th grade class
were going to make one...now it is working in pairs (hey--a threesome is
even OK with me ....smile)...individually is still an option. I am going to
do this again next year, too (with the same adaptations BECAUSE it is fun
for me---I no longer care if every child has the same experience. Forcing
every one make one was just too hard....and I can call it "Cooperative
Learning"...always hated that buzz-word)

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