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Lesson Plans


From: Patricia Knott (pknott)
Date: Sat Jul 01 2000 - 07:02:07 PDT

  • Next message: Patricia Knott: "8 ways to think like Einstein"

    Henry has been presenting some provocative thoughts and he may me
    challenging how some of us think. His questions are tough ones.

    > Right now this post is an exercise in generating ideas. The
    > real-life problem? How to teach creativity.
    > We already seem to have some decent curricula BUT they don't seem
    > to always work for everyone--me for example. One simple way to
    > learn how to generate ideas is to work on your problems, the
    > things that bother you in your life and even in the world.

    Those of you who have incorporated the National Standards for Art into your
    curriculum are familiar with Standard 3: ... choose and evaluate a range
    of subject matter, symbols and ideas to be expressed in visual terms;
    examine how art is used to convey meaning and experiences and to explore
    aspects of humanity; integrate visual concepts with content to communicate
    intended meaning...
    The student will select subject matter, themes and symbols.

    I take this standard very seriously. This is where I have to facilitate and
    help them figure out how to get the ideas, but the ideas have to be theirs.
    It is difficult. Risk taking is about self esteem, not creativity. How many
    times have we ourselves been afraid to show something we did, or even
    complete it for fear of rejection.
    I spend time on journal keeping, brainstorming, and just looking. I have
    thousands of dollars worth of art and photo books and magazines in my room.
    The photo students look and look and glean ideas. The art students won't.
    The art students think that ideas come from some magical place in their
    heads and that they can't get ideas from something someone else has done.
    So once in a while I ask them to go through the magazines and, for instance,
    find 3 art works they really like and 3 they don't and analyze what it is
    they are attracted to or not. Or anytime they want, they are free to go
    through the magazines any rip out any image that they make some connection
    to. (This year the library gave me some old Venture magazines from the
    60's. Boy did they have fun with those images.)

    I don't know, I find the kids today have a really difficult time admitting
    that they care about anything. What I can do, is provide a place where no
    idea is too outrageous, where any idea can be pursued in a meaningful way,
    and to take a chance.
    I spend a lot of time teaching history. What was happening socially,
    economically, politically, technologically, that caused the artist to
    respond the way he/she did.

    On the first day of class I give everyone a copy of an ad I cut from a
    magazine a few years ago. It's from the New York Foundation for the Arts:
    If Imagination and Creativity Alone Made Art, We Could All Be Artists
    The gist of it is about the intent of the process. "It takes an awesome
    imagination, a gifted talent, an original mind and consuming desire to
    overcome the seduction of technique, materials or craft - to make art....
    What a remarkable process creating is--giving back more, the more we risk."



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