I work with students of all ages. My youngest is four-years-old, and my two oldest, were ninety-seven when they passed away in 2021. I aim to teach people (where ever they are developmentally) to create and think like artists, to have artistic minds, to develop the studio habits of mind dispositions whether they are current working, have retired from, or will be working in the service industry, teaching, nursing, lawyering, machining, parenting, etc. Our future depends on people who can think outside the box, envision something new or different and not be satisfied by “we have always done it like that!”
So, how do we support this kind of thinking?
I have instituted a new morning ritual in my alternative high school art class. I got the idea from Cindy at Art Class Curator. I project a slide (that I purchased from Art Class Curator) of a famous artwork from history or a lesser known contemporary work. I ask them to quickly draw a sketch of the art work and offer a writing prompt, such as – what is this man thinking, or what happened right before this scene, or what can you tell me about this woman’s life based on this painting? After they work for a few minutes, I have a go around so that they can share their ideas out loud. Then we watch a short video about the painting and another about the artist or period of art and I ask what they gleaned in terms of Studio Habits of Mind or interesting facts about the artist. At first, this was a very difficult task for these students, who enroll in our program because traditional high school has not worked for them. Many of them do not see themselves as learners. With practice they have gotten better at it and don’t blankly look at me when I tell them, there is no wrong answer, only your answer.