Study: Creativity Should be Taught as a Course

From the Adobe website

“Eighty-eight Percent of U.S. Professionals Surveyed Believe Creativity Should be Built into Standard Curricula”

Study: Creativity Should be Taught as a Course.

Creativity isn’t limited in art.  It’s also just as important in math and science.

 

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Instagram Fridays: Exploring Instagram Use in Art Education

I wrote a whole thesis on the potential of Web 2.0, social media, and blogging in Art Education.  At the time, Instagram was not around and I never imagined its possibility in education.

Earlier this week, I received my first fan mail ever from a reader (Thanks Ferina!) who linked me to this article titled “20 Out of the Box Ideas to Use Instagram in Your Classroom.”

Readers know I love Instagram because of its ability to reach, impact, and inform others through photograph. It’s also a way to create a community by making a portfolio of work through hashtags. Since I’m an Art Educator, here’s what they suggest for using Instagram in the Art Classroom:

17. Art

Offer a fun and creative scavenger hunt. Send students out to take photos of different shapes (like finding isosceles triangles in architecture). Then post a collage and invite followers to identify the common denominator in every building.

Here are some of my ideas:

1. Photograph student art work and make hashtags based on class, class period, project, style, media, elements and principles of art and design.

2. Lucky enough to have an iPad in the classroom as well as an iPhone or iPod touch like Fuglefun and Tiedemania? You can instantly upload student work created on the iPad to Instagram!

3. With budget cuts cutting art, music, and physical education, you can document the daily life of your art classroom through Instagram.  For example, if you photograph students working on a mural, write a caption about the arts encourage collaboration and community building.  Since many people use Instagram, its mass appeal can do wonders for any art program.

Also, I noticed that Instagram introduced a new feature where you can easily view your profile online.  This can make it easier to spread the good news about your art program especially to those who may not own a smart phone.

You can check out my Instagram profile at http://instagram.com/abbyesc#.

I’ve also used Statigram to keep track of my followers, likes and comments.  This information can be valuable in increasing your viewership.

I would love to hear other people’s ideas about using Instagram in the classroom.  Even though I didn’t mention it above because I hope that as teachers we use common sense, your students’ safety is of utmost importance!  Make sure you get permission from their parents!

Please click on this: Things Never To Say To A Teacher

Things Never To Say To A Teacher.

To those people who has ever thought “Those who can’t do teach” (as highlighted in #4 in the article), I would have loved for you to sub in a crazy 23 plus teenage boy classroom who seriously spent all period throwing colored pencils at each other. Because I had to deal with that for a whole quarter at my leave-replacement as an art teacher!

Note: Those boys have matured (hopefully!) since then :).

Building Creative Confidence: Thoughts on David Kelley’s TED Talk

I have worked with children for over five years as a teacher in both schools and camps. Besides teaching my specialty in art and other subjects such as math, reading, writing, science, and history, there’s one thing I always noticed about kids that I never really discussed with my peers.  It’s how creative anxiety increases as the kids (and ourselves) get older.

When I was student teaching, I taught art once a week to kindergarten classes.  Even though I always took a nap after I came home, I enjoyed the kids’ enthusiasm and joy for art.  They used art materials to express their ideas in a way no other adult can. I enjoyed hearing them talk about their artwork.  From what I can remember, none of the kids I worked with had any real anxiety about art.  Of course, they would call out my name every 5 seconds and shout “Is this right?!?!” but for the most part, they truly enjoyed art and didn’t care if anyone thought that their ideas were crazy.

Example of kindergarten student’s work

When I started working with older kids (around 9 and up), I noticed more anxiety.  Phrases such as “I can’t draw” or “I can’t do this” were becoming common. I even made a sign that says “I can’t do this” crossed out in my ceramics windmill at camp.  It was frustrating because no matter how much I encourage, they feel that they are not “artists” and that they are not “creative.”  Those weren’t empty words.  I truly meant it when I told the reluctant kids that they are capable of making great works of art.  Luckily, there were a few kids that I worked with that never thought they can create amazing works of art.  Just like what David Kelley said in his Ted Talk, it was all about small steps.  I worked with those kids one-on-one and encouraged and praised every step of the way.  As students accomplish these small steps, they build up confidence ultimately leading to more creative risk taking.

A student’s work of art that was created with perseverance.

Something happens when we are growing up that makes us feel that we aren’t good enough or creative enough.  When did we start thinking that the world is divided into “creative” people and “non-creative” people?  Honestly, I don’t know how to relate to a person who feels that they’re “non-creative.”  Could it be because I always enjoyed art or maybe had an active imagination or some natural talent?  As an art teacher, it’s really easy to say “You can draw!” to a frustrated kid who’s probably thinking “Easy for you to say!  You already know how to draw!”  It’s my job to create an atmosphere where it’s okay to make mistakes and to encourage that frustrated kid every step of the way.  I have to constantly remember to put myself in that frustrated kid’s shoes.  Usually, I say something like, “Learning how to draw is the same as practicing the violin or throwing a football.”  There is such thing as natural talent.  Everyone has one but it’s nothing without a little practice and perseverance.  To me, that’s more important than talent.

Questions:

How can one reignite their creative spark?

When do people start feeling “creative anxiety”?

How do you build your creative confidence?

Here’s David Kelley’s TED Talk

Teacher Appreciation Week

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Teacher Appreciation Week

Infographic for Teacher Appreciation Week.

Source: http://mat.usc.edu/teacher-appreciation-day-2012/

Thank you for all of my teachers, especially my art teachers in high school and college, for inspiring me to be one of you!

Save the Arts!

As you can tell from the content of the blog, I am a huge supporter of the arts.  Recently, I heard that the Los Angeles Unified School District has voted to eliminate its arts budget for its 535 elementary schools (http://adoptthearts.org/mission/).  Yes, that Los Angeles where Hollywood calls home.  Here is a video starring a few celebrities including Jane Lynch and Steven Tyler.

I’m not going to lie though.  When I saw Jane Lynch play the nice art teacher, I thought she was going to turn into Sue Sylvester! :D.

Learn more about Adopt the Arts at http://adoptthearts.org/

The Creativity Gap: What’s the Role of Creativity in Society?

Just recently, Adobe conducted a study about creativity. They asked people about their own creativity and its role in the economy, society, workplace and our classrooms. I think the infographic is self-explanatory.

Adobe elaborates on how to close the creativity gap:

So, what can we do to close the creativity gap? First, we need to make time for creativity as well as provide the necessary technology tools and training. Productivity and creativity should not be mutually exclusive – we all need to find ways to create at work, rather than considering it a weekend hobby or luxury for those with more time. As for our educational institutions, they need to foster the growth of the entire child, with more opportunities to participate in arts programs and foster “out of the box” creative thinking. Most importantly, we all need to think of creativity more broadly – it’s not just the domain of professional designers or artists. It’s a critical capability in a successful society and one that is in all of us.

Check out the full report.