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Realigning the Wheel

Acquisition of tools and art making techniques

· Visual Art,Art History,Sculpture,21 Century Learning,education

Don't reinvent the wheel, just realign it. - Anthony J. D'Angelo​

What would it look like if students could develop mastery over their learning as they work towards acquiring 21st century world skills through the process?

What does it look like for students to innately implement emotional intelligence, communication, problem solving, leadership, teamwork, and become global citizens?

I have three main takeaways from "realigning" the wheel of students learning experience from individual to collaborative , but first a time-lapse video of the journey (however feel free to scroll down and skip the vid)...

1. Safety became a natural discussion.

  • Michelle used communication when she burned her hand on the hot glue gun, so she spent the rest of the class advocating that all students wear safety gloves- she made it her agenda to protect all shouting "wear your safety gloves". 
  • Susan utilised emotional intelligence when someone left their razor blade open on the group table. Susan located the "culprit" and a constructive conversation began between the two students. While Susan did not appreciate the tool being left out (because she could have been hurt) she made sure when she spoke an environment of care was established. Susan and the other student decided to look out for, and support one another for the remainder of the project.

2. Problem-solving, communication, and teamwork was immediate for all

  • Students were given a wooden board with shapes and colours marked on it. It was their task to cut the foam board and attach it so that it would fill up the space on the wooden board. No instructions were given beyond this in attempt to develop problem-solving skills. Students first attempted to cut the shapes exactly to the drawing (using papers, markers, their hands as templates). They quickly realised their technique and approach was not working and began working together and asking clarifying questions as they observed one another alter their techniques. 
    • "Does it have to be perfect in shape?" (my answer: "No")
    • "Can shapes overlap" (my answer: "Yes")
    • "Can we add on layers to create depth?" (my answer: "Yes")
    • "Can we create gradations?" (my answer: "Yes")
    • "Do colours have to go exactly where it says?" (my answer: "No")
    • "Can I use sandpaper?" (my answer: "Yes")
    • "Does the foam board have to be the same thickness" (my answer: "No")
  • Students naturally adapted and revised how they were working as a team- assembling themselves by their strengths and tasks they enjoyed most. 
  • Leaders began to take shape in all students. Initiative and empowerment was unleashed in all. 
  • Students began to observe one-another in their art making techniques and questions emerged through peer-to-peer conversation: "How are you getting such a clean smooth edge?", "How are you creating curves with your razor blade?", "How are you creating such thin strips of foam board?".

3. Classroom Management was a team-effort

  • Students were working as one and felt they were all citizens of one larger purpose. As such they all worked together to keep one another on task. That is not to say they were perfect, but even those off task made some pretty cool sculptural creations- though I might be biased.... 
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