I attended the Asia Region Workshop for Art Educators (ARWAE) earlier this year and came away with several new ideas to apply to my own teaching practices. One of the most valuable workshops I attended was “How to Make Investigation and Reflection Fun” led by Jenny Tiefel. Jenny’s creative outlook on getting students to explore and share their learning in non-traditional ways makes learning fun (imagine that!) for both students and the teacher. Since then, I have tried out a few of Jenny’s “Bored No More” strategies for obtaining knowledge and they have been a hit for changing things up, getting students engaged, and making learning memorable. A few weeks ago, to start the Grade 2 unit on Public/Urban Art, students created a modified fortune teller to help them start talking about the form and functions of public art around the world. They began by working individually to write short sentences (in Mother Tongue or English) about the artworks on their fortune tellers. After, the students folded their fortune tellers and played a game that allowed them to share their sentences verbally and ask about other students’ perspectives on an artwork (“What do you notice about this artwork? How does this artwork make you feel? What does this remind you of?”). The activity was a success because:
- Students had different artworks on their fortune tellers, so there was a lot of excitement to compare and talk about the varied images of public art.
- Students had the opportunity to write their thoughts individually before having to share it verbally with others.
- Each student had multiple opportunities to practice reading and ask questions to other students about public artworks.
- Students were seen showing their fortune tellers to others at recess and continued to read their sentences/ask questions about the artworks to others. (Hopefully this also happened when they took the fortune tellers home.)
This strategy could be adapted in SO many other ways to engage students of all ages in knowledge gathering, questioning and talking skills throughout the learning process.