Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rhizomatic Learning Communities

1st Graders stencil a radial design floor mural.
Multi-age students help edit an I-Movie with their teacher.
Construction Center contains cardboard attachment menu's and examples of construction art.
3rd Grade boy's construct a block tower.
Children collaborate on a cardboard marble run sculpture.

The metaphor of the rhizome is helpful in describing the dynamic community of choice based art room learners who seek the specialized and personal knowledge of artists. Artists are able to convey and communicate that which does not exist yet. Teachers will observe children learning through self directed means or collaborative events. Children can become classmate experts and teach and learn about artist's thinking skills with one another. The environment of the choice based art room is itself an ever changing source of knowledge as the activity that takes place here provides inspiration and motivation. Children also seek artists's knowledge from secondary sources within the art room, i.e. books, center menu's, internet and exemplars. Students are able to create their own art knowledge and self-discoveries abound daily. Of course there is always the knowledgeable teacher nearby. Creative learning experiences within the rhizome are always different and each daily experience has it's own special character and feeling.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Rhizomatic Curriculum Structure of Choice Based Art Education

Rhizomatic curricular structures look like choice based art education art rooms. They are places where organic learning communities exist. The curriculum is not linear but with multiple entry points and multiple endpoints and a myriad of outcome possibilities.

What is an effective way to access and stimulate children's innate creative capacities?

2nd Graders create a city out of blocks.
My friend and colleague Clark Fralick and I looked at this question for several years. After a period of investigation, observation and consideration, we began to look at curriculum in a new way. After meeting with Kathy, John and Diane in Denver back in '04, it was clear to us what the next step should be. After a period of acclimation and adjustments, we determined, choice based art education works within school settings because the flexible, rhizomatic curriculum structure meets the needs of heterogeneous groups of children. Addressing the paradox between freedom and regulation is what choice based art educators do. Whether providing opportunities for students to design their own art projects, investigating interdisciplinary subject areas or participation in teacher designed learning activities, the affirmation and development of the individual’s unique creative capacities is the heart and soul of choice based art education practice.

A 4th grader prepares her assemblage work for the art show.

Friday, January 18, 2013

When Learning Experience Is Organic

Is the mind a blank slate? An empty vessel to pour information and data into without the consent of the learner? Or is the mind an organic system connected to our emotional and physiological self? Should an individual's psycho-emotional realms be ignored when considering the learning that they are to engage in? Should they be left out of the decision making process central to the learning events they are to engage in? 

Kindergarten boy creates a monster mask.

2nd grade boy draws his toy truck.

Girl adds stencil prints to her painting.

A boy tries out his mask.

Packing material makes a great sculpture material.

Volcanoes rock!

Super-sonic space craft building is hard work!

Education is not just about what we are putting into the brain, it is how it is done. What is happening to the brain while we are involved in the learning process is just as important as the content we are putting into it.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Here's how we incorporate S.T.E.M.

6th Grade boy fine tunes his cardboard glider, experimenting with weight and balance.

6th grade boy corrects a design flaw in his unbalanced cardboard sculpture.
Education is not just about what we are putting into the brain, it is also about how it is done. What is happening to the brain while we are involved in the learning process is just as important as the content we are putting into it.