May 4, 2009

Conclusion thoughts

The conclusion I had in mind was actually using that final question (4.a. using right side in their daily classroom activities), then following it with where we see the right-brain with regards to some of the curricular things discussed from past readings. The more I thought about it though, the more I had trouble figuring out how exactly the right brain was able to fit in with any of those readings.

After further thought, I realized that one option would be to reread something from a past article and look at where left and right play a part in it. That isn't really conclusion-type material though...unless I simply mention that moving forward, after reading this book it would be beneficial to evaluate future readings with both hemispheres in mind.

Any other thoughts or ideas? I am sure I will have something by class time, but ideas are welcome :)

Lap top issues

Okay, so my computer is on the fritz and it likes to randomly shut off about every 5-10 min. I have the right brain blocker visuals on a power point but I really don't think that my computer will make it. Can someone bring thier laptop so I can pull up my power point of our fun little visuals?

Wow, last class!

Hi everyone,

Thanks for typing this up! It's going to be good!

I will bring along some back up questions for the two chapters as well as for the activity in case the discussion starts to die....has this every happened in our class?!

Cassie, I believe I have plenty of tinker toys. I have five sets total, enought for 3-4 groups plus the setup outside the room. Will have that ready to go.

Questions: I will type up the follow up questions to the activity and have these ready to go for the groups. I can also facilitate the discussion if needed. I would say the activity could take up to about 30 minutes (3 min for intro, 10-12min for playing, 5 min for group discussions, 5-8 min for group discussion)

As for the conclusion, I think it's always nice to have some closing remarks to pull the presentation together. However, no readings come to mind this evening. I'm sure Brad will come up with a brillient closing or ending thought....:)

Till tomorrow,


May 2, 2009

Great outline

Cassie--Thanks for typing that up!

I think that sounds great. I definitely think we should each have a couple of back up questions in case the discussion starts to die. I think we have a great plan and some interesting activites to demonstrate our ideas. I will take care of the drawing activity and bring paper and pencils. Are there 8 people counting Kristi?

I am going to reread the chapter just to refresh my memory on the ideas that are discussed. Let me know if anybody needs anything...

May 1, 2009

New Outline

Okay so here is our new outline and what each of us should cover. If anyone has issues with what they need to say or getting materials we need to keep each other posted.

1. Ice Breaker- Tinker toy activity (Amy brings tinker toys; Amy if you need some more please call me and let me know 612-703-8082) Amy will run this section.
a. Round one- easy
b. Round two- difficult
2. Follow up questions- Continue with the questions while the class is still in their tinker groups. Each group should be given both questions to discuss together first for a few minutes. Private group time will then fold into whole class discussion. One group can answer one of the questions first with the other adding their ideas and then the other group can answer the other question first and so on.

(Amy, where you going to bring these printed out?)

a. What moments of crisis if any did you or your team go into during the activity?
b. What were some strategies that you developed to help you be more successful?

I also think that if this discussion does not go long enough each of us should have one question prepared to help the discussion along. Is that cool with everyone? or not necessary?

Mine may be, just to keep you all posted: What are places in your subject area where you feel right brain activity is used, needed or missing? (Feel free to edit me)

3. Stuck on the left (Cassie) - these are the left short visual activities that demonstrate how we are often stuck on the left side of our brain.
I’m not entirely sure about what I should say here just yet. If anyone cares to give their two cents I would love to hear it.
4. Drawing activity (Edi is bring materials for this and directing it) - Now to go into something that is going to isolate the right side of the brain…
a. Question: Can you think of any thing that is done or could be done in your subject area that helps to exercise the right side of the brain.
Maybe we want another question here?
5. Conclusion: (Brad)

I noticed that other groups didn’t really have a conclusion, just as most of our discussions in this class. At the same time we are not dealing with the same type of issue that most of our readings have been touching on. I’m not sure if we want to try and tie these things together and leave things more open ended or not. What do you all think? Brad did you have any ideas about how you would maybe wrap it up? I know we talked a couple weeks ago about a final direction for it all but at the moment I’m not recalling exactly what that was and if it tied to our readings. Hope to hear what you all think. Have a good weekend.

April 27, 2009

student work

The new drawing teacher at our school has started using the ideas from the book. It is really interesting to see some of the student work and to talk to the kids about the process. He used the viewfinder with the crosshairs on a transparency--then the students placed it on their hand and drew a contour image directly onto the "picture plane". Then they used that drawing as a reference when drawing a new image on the regular piece of paper. Of the two pieces of student work that I saw, one was pretty talented to start with and the hand drawing turned out well. The other was at a lower skill level, but her hand turned out a lot better then I had expected. It is exciting to see that these theories actually work to drastcally improve the drawing skill.

Are we ready for our presentation? For some reason I am feeling a little unprepared--I hope people are in a talking mood.

See you all tomorrow.

April 18, 2009

Presentation Outline Ideas

Here is what we came up with in class as far as how our presentation should start. Please feel free to add ideas so that we can figure out a good way to wrap up.

1. Ice Breaker- Tinker toy activity (Amy brings tinker toys; I will also bring a set so that we are sure to have enough.)
a. Round one- easy
b. Round two- difficult
2. Follow up questions- Continue with the questions while the class is still in their tinker groups. Each group should be given one question to discuss together first for a few minutes. Private group time will then fold into whole class discussion with each group reading their question and then opening up to the class for further discussion.
a. Questions we came up with so far:
i. What does this game have to do with the reading?
ii. What moments of crisis if any did you or your team go into during the activity?
iii. What were some strategies that you developed to help you be more successful?
3. Drawing activity (Edi has picture of face)- Now to go into something that is going to isolate the right side of the brain.

That is about as far as we got. I think that if we have three teams then this might be enough but we should maybe look closer at them and see if they are getting to the root of the subject matter. It might be nice to do a similar thing with more questions to follow the right brain activity. I also think it might be interesting if some of the questions between activity one and activity two might overlap, just a thought.

I don’t know how we want to wrap things up but I do think that it would be useful to have some perspective that is not necessarily an art teacher perspective but much more general. I’m not sure at the moment on how that would look so we will need to talk more about how we can do that.

Hope all of your papers are going well, see you Tuesday.

April 4, 2009

Tinker Toy activity

Are we still thinking of coordinating the tinker toy activity as a type of "ice breaker" for our instructional session? I believe my set would have plenty for our small class. It might be fun. Thanks for pulling together some options for the drawing activity!

See you all on the 14th.


Sorry I'll miss class on Tuesday!

Interesting connection on the VTS (visual thinking strategies). This also reminds me of our discussions in an earlier art course about our currently developing visual culture. So much that we see today is visual. I think it’s important for students not only to learn to participate in the visual arts, but also use those skills & knowledge that they gain in the art room to help them “decode” and understand the visual world in which they live.

Many times, it’s challenging in my seventh grade art class to have students just work. They’re constantly asking questions “is this ok?” or “does this look right?”. We have a few documentation cameras at my school that I’ve taken a liking to. They’re a great camera that works like an overhead, but it projects what you’re doing up on screen.

I’ve found lately that by using this tool, I’m able demonstrate a specific skill and have all the individuals see clearly. This tool has greatly reduced the continuous questions and allows me to work with the students. They can see that I’m working and it helps them to keep on task. I’ve also found that I’ve had many more moments of complete silence, which signals that they’re able to get a better grasp on the concepts and are able make the switch to their right brain.

I’m looking forward to finishing the book. There have been many good insights and examples.

March 29, 2009

Another Thought

I have always been more of a 3-D person when it comes to art, but this book has given me a new perspective when it comes to drawing and painting. If I ever teach drawing there are some great ideas to use for students. I think one of the most important things is to be aware of your surroundings and to trust what you see. Chapter 9 really brought up a great way to explain it--getting over the preconcieved ideas. This book really reaffirms to me the importance of teaching art to every student and that everyone can do it successfully.

I have been thinking about our drawing activity and have a couple of images for you guys to look at on Tuesday. I think that we should go for a simpiler drawing--mostly line or shapes--and nothing too complicated. Let me know what you think and I'll take care of the paper and images.

Glad we're all on the same page

I'm with the rest of you. I am noticing so many things that relate to this topic as I go through my day in and outside of the classroom.

One thing that I have been paying more and more attention to is when that shift from right to left is being made in my class. I often feel that the art room is one of the few places in school where students are allowed to be more social and hopefully as a result can often bounce ideas off of each other and influence one another in their work. Still I am always reminding my students that if they can't work and talk at the same time then they need to make a choice to talk less and focus a little harder. So often when the room is getting too loud I will glance around at tables and notice that for the most part anyone who is talking is not using their hands what so ever. The more I read this book it has become clear to me that doing these things simultaneously isn't possible. Even switching back and forth constantly is prohibiting them from getting into a deeper right brain mode. On the flip side there are also moments when students are so engaged that you can hear a pin drop. When I stop them to clean up I will often hear them all complaining "already, we just got here". As a teacher I love moments like this because I know that they are engaged in a way that I often am when working on my own art. As an artist these are some of the most gratifying moments and it is fun to see student enter into that.

I have bunch of other areas where I have been seeing this connect but for now I will just add one more thought. The elementary art teachers and I are looking at a new teaching strategy called VTS (Visual Thinking Strategies). We are hoping to begin this with kindergarten and 1st grade next year. VTS is simply a way of looking at art and facilitating very open, no right or wrong, discussions about what we see. It is very much linked to visual literacy and helping kids to verbalize what they are looking at. VTS will hopefully not only strengthen the right side of their brain but form more connections between the right and the left instead of isolating the two. Reading this book has only been encouraging me to look deeper into VTS and I am excited to see how the two can support each other.

March 11, 2009

way too much time on my hands

Ok, so I finished the book. I think that the postscript would be a nice addition to Chapter three for our reading. This brings the whole book together for students and teachers. The author presents the idea that we can use the skills we have learned to help us communicate better. Let me know what you guys think-- that would put us up to 27 pages.

Amie- That is why I love making art--I get so caught up in it, kind of like my own personal nirvana. I would also be interested to know if sometime during history there was a movement to add a larger focus on art into the curriculum. I have only every attended and taught in the public school setting, but I know that arts high schools exist--The Perpich Center for the Arts has an arts focused high school and they do amazing things. I would love to see what they do differently then a regular school to get to that skill level of creative thinking.

Brad- Great example of how this instructional book on drawing/thinking applies outside of the art world. The skills that you are using are so important in many jobs, but tend to be overlooked by schools. Do you think that this creation process is one of the more difficult parts of your job? I think that one of the most challenging things in my job is anticipating the students' mistakes and using that information to prevent those misconceptions.

In the postscript they describe what a total shift to right brain thinking looks like in a classroom--The students are so engaged and focused on the task that they are silent. This is a rare moment when it happens to all 30 or so high school students all at once, but quite amazing. It happened last week in my Ceramics II class (very briefly) and it was so strange I felt like something was wrong. After reading this I realized what was happening and am looking forward to the next time this happens.
Until next time...

March 9, 2009


It seems that we’re all finding ourselves slightly more aware of our lobe actions these days! Sunday evening I was preparing for a new Art 7 course and working on our first assignment in contour drawing and coloring. I was trotting along having a good time when my hubby came in and stated “Do you have any idea what time it is?” I had told him an hour and a half earlier that I was going to begin supper shortly, but I found myself lost in the process of drawing.

In ch 3, Edwards discuses that “educators are increasingly concerned with the importance of intuitive and creative thought” but states that “nevertheless, school systems in general are skill structured in the left-hemisphere mode”. I’ve found in the last few conversations I’ve had both with educators and with parents of students that they both feel this concern for developing the creative process and are worried about what effect the cuts of the arts will have within our students success in the future. Has there been a time when the creative arts were thriving in the educational system or at least in some school settings? It might be interesting to look at the knowledge held by students enriched in the arts comparative to students with little or no access….

March 8, 2009

A response to your first thoughts

I responded the same way you did when I read the sentence about grad school. While you are reflecting on these points from the art instructor point-of-view, I am looking at this book through the lens of an instructional designer. While it might seem strange at first, there is actually quite a bit of overlap! When I design tools for work, I have to start by identifying a goal, but then there is a creative process during the brain-storming phase that requires the ability to use both sides of the brain, first from the creative right lobe inventing ideas, then from the left lobe as I think critically about how it would be adopted, the type of experience students would have, or even how it fits within a specific pedagogical context. Additionally, I have to switch back and forth as I reflect on each of these points. When I imagine a students experience with the content, resource, or tool I am considering, I have to invent scenarios that again demand the creativity only the right lobe could lend.

As a small anecdote, I was removing the stitches in the hemmed sleeve of a sweater today. After I snipped the thread, I was alternating index fingers as I pulled each thread out, much the same way you would unlace a shoe. I immediately considered the test subjects of chapter three that had their Corpus Callosum bisected, and how much trouble they would have with that activity being that their hands were operating independently!

March 7, 2009

first thoughts

Well it looks like I get to start of the discussion, the pressure is on.

I am really glad that we are reading this book--I finally understand the reasoning behind some of the ideas that I was taught and some of the things that I do naturally when I draw. The idea in Chp 7 about the basic unit really puts into words a technique that I have used to help with size and proportion, but it added more information to help me refine my technique.

I am really interested in the information in Chp 3 about the brain and how it relates to our thinking. The sentance on page 41 really shows my frustration with the current educational system-- "American scientific training through graduate school may entirely destroy the right hemisphere". This is followed by the awareness of the effects of inadequate training on the left side of the brain, but no one really cares if the right side is not trained properly. Our schools just don't realize the importance of creative thinking and because there is no way to test this knowledge it is placed at the bottom of the heap.

I completed the vase excercise and experienced the same frustration as the author and had to stop my pencil to straighten out my thoughts. It was interesting to actually feel the conflict of the left and right brain, something that I had never really noticed before.

Ok, I'll stop for now. Hopefully this will get us going.