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Quote of the Week (6) – “I’ll do it”…

The quote of the week on this fine day is: “I’ll do it!”

That’s what I said when the teacher for the Technology class being offered this session as part of our Enrichment program had something come up that would prevent her from teaching the class, after it was advertised. Meanwhile, there were close to 20 kids who had registered. The Technology teacher’s goal in offering this class is to create a group of students who can be sent out into the school independently to film and photograph events taking place within the school and then publish their work. I run the After School Enrichment program for our school and I did not want to cancel the class, wanting to nurture the students’ interest instead and help the teacher prepare a “Techie Group”. I put out an email to the staff, but no one was available to teach the class. “I’ll do it”, I said…instantly waving goodbye to my art educator comfort zone.

We met yesterday afternoon and I am so glad I offered to cover the class. I just kept reminding myself that I was facilitating the group, in the truest sense of the word. And facilitate I did as the students eagerly took Flip cameras into the hallway and shot videos of themselves lip syncing to songs or acting out scenarios. Back in the room we used Windows Movie Maker to add titles and background music. I say that like I know what I am talking about. I DO NOT! I have used iMovie to some degree, but I don’t know the Microsoft product well. However, I took that little leap of faith and stepped back as one of the 8th grade girls took the lead and showed the others how to accomplish the moviemaking tasks. Facilitator I became as I took what I learned from her and was then able to go around and help out as needed.

When I first went to college to become a teacher in the mid-1990’s, there was a lot of talk about the difference between teaching as “the sage on the stage” and the “guide on the side”. Deep down I knew that I personally learn better from the “guide on the side” approach. As often as I can, I try that approach in the art room, but it is not usual.  Most classes begin with a demonstration and instruction of a material or method, as that is the nature of art instruction. It was truly fun yesterday to let go and be instructed by the students, and I’m glad to have experienced the opportunity. I can’t wait until our next class when I learn, with the group, to splice the videos together.

I’m thinking that  great way to use the facilitator approach in art instruction is to put out materials and ask, “How can we make art with this?” I’m thinking about recyclables, fabric, magazines, cardboard paper tubes, styrofoam trays, etc…items that get donated fairly regularly. This would be a good activity during a pre-vacation week, or at the end of the year. In thinking this through I am reminded of the TASK party we enjoyed at the NAEA conference in NYC last spring. I loved the idea so much then, and had begun thinking of ways to try it out at school. I think a modified, mini TASK party would be great fun in the art room. To check out Oliver Herring’s TASK concept, visit: http://oliverherringtask.wordpress.com

Now, I know we all like a little eye candy, and I won’t let you down and publish a post without something to look at. Not related to anything mentioned above except movies, here is a video I made with Time Lapse on the iPad this summer to record the optimistic placing of peacock eggs in the incubator…

Starting a New Life by Van Morrison

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