“Creativity is as important now in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.” Sir Ken Robinson
I was a general classroom teacher for 15 years before specialising. Yet I can honestly say I never taught any of my students to read in all that time.
There simply aren’t enough hours in a teaching year for merely teaching skills to mastery. Students need miles upon miles of mileage to truly master reading. And by that I don’t mean decoding text. I mean reading for meaning.
Instead what I aimed to do was inspire. Inspire a love for words, phrases, unpacking an author’s point of view and predicting a reader’s inference.
By unlocking the code of reading for meaning, students’ thirst for adventure, for knowledge, for losing themselves in imaginary worlds, drives them to pursue reading independently. To seek out genres that they personally find engaging and fulfilling. The growth in my students reading levels across the learning year, was staggering.
Six years ago, I specialised in teaching visual art and digital media across kindergarten to Year 6 (ages 4-11). Again, I applied the same methods. As a specialist you may see every student in the school but for very little time. Personally, I may see a student for 18 periods a year. Hardly enough time to scratch the surface of all the possible skills that live within these subject.
So I modelled my approach on the way that I used to teach reading.
My aim is to awaken a love for creating.
I see my role as establishing the context and providing the support for students, that inspires them along the path of personal exploration/s and to build their confidence for self expression and communication through a visual medium.
Once they experience that intrinsic satisfaction unique to a creative experience, they are hooked.
For me the true test of whether this method works is not the work produced in class, often skill based explorations due to minimal time and curriculum goals. It’s the independent self directed work that students take on beyond the art room - the creativity they apply to classroom work or home based pursuits. It’s the parent who tells me about how their child won’t let them go past a stationery or art supply store without buying something or asking for solutions to store the growing piles of artwork at home. It’s the child that is conceiving, prototyping, creating and making solutions to everyday problems. It’s the child that sees such problems as opportunities to be innovative.
Visual Art is not a stand alone subject, only to be taught in specialist art lessons. It is a transdisciplinary way of thinking that can positively influence all aspects of our students’ lives. Visual Art is not about making pretty pictures to hang in the school corridors. Far more important and useful is the thinking that come before the product.
A final product has one use but the soft skills developed during the creative process are what makes Visual Art an essential area of learning for students.
Art with Mea
IG: timea_oneteachersjourney, artwithmea
Reading COMPREHENSION - Read to Self-Read to Buddy with Bloom's Taxonomy
Suitable for primary / elementary and middle school.
Consists of 6 cards to use in your reading programme, as bookmarks or joined into fans. They are levelled for increasing complexity and based on Bloomʼs Taxonomy of Learning Domains. This model is based on the principle of a 3 level hierarchy:
1 - Learning that is transferring knowledge
2 - Learning that is developing attitudes
3 - Learning that is generating a skill
Level 1 - Knowledge & Comprehension fall into the Cognitive Domain (knowing and perceiving). Level 2 - Application & Analysis fall into the Affective Domain (feelings and emotions / attitude). Level 3 - Synthesis & Evaluation fall into the Psychomotor Domain (movement, skills & action).
USA and USA spellings have been included on student resources. Fantastic used during reading to self and reading to a buddy times, as well as with guided reading groups.
Art Lesson PORTRAITS - This is Me (paint and markers)
Techniques are teacher guided and includes extensive student choice opportunities.
Suitable for upper primary / elementary and middle school.
A clearly laid out full-colour PDF presentation. This is a great art lesson for either the start or end of the year, exploring the uniqueness of self and motivational quotes. Combine with a unit on New beginnings at he start of a new year, or if you wish as a wrap-up of personal development at the end of the year.
The photos show the teacher model and a variety of work by students. Art skills developed include - drawing, liquid water colour/dye painting, patterning, colour combining.
Work is based on the artist model Eden Gosier - artist biography included. Links to useful resources to supplement this unit.
Step-by-step instructions and brimming with colour photographs of authentic student work and teacher models. The examples in this unit were created by 10-11 year olds and is easily levelled up or down. Landscape layout suitable for viewing through large screens or can be used for independent viewing by senior students. Presentation consists of 54 slides (pages).
Use in conjunction with this poetry lesson:
Thoughts on Teaching
Stuck for ideas? Grab a cup of tea, put your feet up and settle in to read my teaching blog focused on all matters in teaching and Visual Art.