When I was in college going through my art methods courses, I felt like I was programmed to believe that we teach art to promote critical thinking and problem solving skills. I was kind of at the point where this just became my automated response--it sounded good, but recently I've really been reflecting on what it really means.
It all started a few weeks ago. I was on mile 6 of 8 on my run and all of a sudden I could feel my long, blonde locks blowing in the wind as I was gracefully striding down the trail. Okay fine, I was panting for breath, probably wheezing, and could feel my hair plastered to my forehead and neck. My ponytail fell out AND WAS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND. I had a slight moment of panic...because guys, I have A LOT of hair. I stopped, circled around like a dog chasing his tail, looking for SOMETHING to help me out. Luckily, we've had some crazy rains and that grass is growing green and strong. I started picking out the best pieces of grass I could find, tied 4 of them together, tied it around my hair, and voila--makeshift ponytail. I survived the last two miles, it was weird, but survival nonetheless. As I finished the run, listening to the Beach Boys Greatest Hits, I thought to myself--that's problem solving, yo.
How many times do we see our students do something like this in class? I see it all the time without even realizing it. Whether it's using their reasoning skills to mix a color they've never created before or discovering why watercolors and crayons don't mix--problem solving and critical thinking are REALLY happening. Pretty rad, right?
What does this have to do with the lesson's I am sharing? Absolutely nothing.
So please do enjoy the work of these fabulous 5th graders, as we took the time to explore the differences in form using 2D and 3D materials. The drawing lesson was very similar to this one here. The clay tiles took a more personal look at each student, as they created a piece "about me."
***Note to self: When photographing clay initials pay attention to what words you are spelling...I certainly didn't my first go 'round. ***
What does problem solving and critical thinking look like in your classroom?