Pixar designers used different media and techniques in order to fully develop the character “Art” for the upcoming movie “Monsters University.” Sketched first in colored marker, artists then used a soft pencil to flush out Art’s movements. Why? Because soft pencil flows…a line from a pencil is a direct connection between the hand and the brain, the most immediate connection (think about those gesture drawings from your first drawing class). A portrait of Art was painted in order to get the final colors correct, a clay machette was sculpted, and the artists looked at videos of Mummenschanz to study Art’s movements. Each material and technique brought something new to the character, and revealed something about Art that was not clearly articulated with a previous material.
This article is an excellent example of the process of an artist and how he thinks with materials (watch the slide show too)!
In the different contexts where I work and study, we have been talking a lot about photography and images. This tutorial is very useful, posted on Facebook by my high school photography teacher, Jack Surran.
Canon DLC: Gallery: Canon EOS 101: Photography and Videography Basics.
Hopkinson speaks beautifully on how our values should shape our schools, and of the importance of the role of the community in determining these values:
“at a certain point we have to start thinking of public education less as a charitable enterprise or for-profit business and more of a core value in our communities. Schools should begin by building on what assets the community values and what their goals are for their childrens future, not what the franchise decides are best practices. Schools should be part of the ecosystem of a community, one that replenishes itself and stands on its own feet.”
via Organic Chemistry: Two tracks of schooling raise questions about class, race and community – The Root DC Live – The Washington Post.
Anya Kramer’s article in the Huffington Post underscores the necessity of the Hundred Languages in our schools today, and brings forth the humanity that can and should be a part of our day to day interactions in a classroom: Anya Kramer: Wearing My Misspellings.
Rachel Sager Mosaics.
I wrote a post a while back: http://indialoguedc.com/taking-myself-…-the-challenge/ about having a bias towards certain materials. Sager’s post reiterates that sentiment and her beautiful and unusual mosaics show what can come from confronting our prejudices.
Twice yesterday I was confronted with the question, “Isn’t Reggio just best practice?”
The Reggio Approach uses documentation for research and professional development, which in turn promotes analysis and self-reflection of daily practice and processes of learning. Entering into a Reggio-inspired classroom one would expect to see an attitude of respect, of listening, and other “best practices,” but beyond teaching strategies, maybe it is the belief in the rights of children, a strong image of the child, and a deep relationship with the community that sets the Approach apart? Maybe it is a different point of view, stemming from this strong image of the child, of education? Maybe it is the inseparable relationship and solidarity among the values of the Approach?
I am interested in hearing the thoughts of others.
I particularly connected to the episode by Richard Seymour: “How Does Beauty Feel?” All of the episodes have fascinating points of view and underline the human need (emotional, biological, etc.) for beauty in our lives.
To listen: What Is Beauty? : NPR.
If I had to name one key to developing our relationship with parents at the (now closed) Model Early Learning Center, it would be Wendy and her chair. Every morning, Wendy sat at the entrance of the school, and greeted parents and children as they walked through the door. This personal moment gave parents and teacher the opportunity to exchange important information, from a reminder of an upcoming event to a sleepy child who might need an extra hug that day. It also was a beautiful, respectful way of entering the classroom. It made children and families feel welcomed. It helped to connect us as a community.
I was reminded of the power of Wendy in connection with the sentiments in this article:
D.C. students use photography to protest school security – The Washington Post.
“The teacher allows the children to build up to their belly buttons.”
“I love the way the teacher does her block area.”
“We have centers open.”
“I have, in construction, some new…”
“Can someone tell me how to do it?”
“My question is…”
How often does our language, as teachers or adults, convey an attitude of hierarchy? Are we aware of the impact of our words, and the message they send? And on another level, is this what we believe (that the classroom belongs to the teacher, and has a higher status than the children)? If we agree that children and teachers are co-constructers of knowledge, and that we have a strong image of the child as a protagonist (lots of slogans here, I know), how can we be more cognizant about the language we use both in the classroom and in our conversations about teaching and learning?