make art. transform life.

thoughts about creativity and  art:   live your life as your work of art.

Can teaching be a "work of art"?

garden sketch   by bvw


What makes teaching a collaborative work of art?...I recently taught art for many years at a school with  outstanding professionals who are passionate about teaching and children!  We worked side by side, dedicated to  giving the children the  tools of literacy in all fields  and a deep  desire to learn to the best of their ability.  I honor and thank these teachers for being artists using the tools and skills of education to create classrooms that are bursting with creative thinkers !

Each year my students worked within the outdoor courtyard. It was surrounded by the huge windows of the building. The courtyard experience gave us all the opportunity to use our  creative thinking skills.  Defined by Michelle and Robert Root-Bernstein, who are scientists, creative thinking involves  the skills used by scientists, artists and those who have new ideas and  explore them. They are defined below, so  read on to discovery how creative thinking occurs when closing to make art. In our school they  are  organically integrated into this  school's curriculum.

Art is a way of looking at or doing things,

no matter which medium or substance you choose to use.

When you observe the world (like the courtyard,) with fresh eyes, it triggers within you a sense of wonderment...

as when you see the trees reaching into the sky while lying on your back or watch  a bird fly by,effortlessly.

If you can choose your tools of art from the places, people and moments each day,

then you can exercise your imagination. You are able to find the essence of what you see and abstract or edit the essential parts of it.  You start to recognize patterns around you which helps you to see that all things are connected. Patterns abound in the flowers, birds, tree branches , leaves and even blades of grass!

Which brings me to the skill of making analogies.

How freeing it is to think of the courtyard as a microcosm of the world, and how we all need to work together to keep bunnies alive, make sure the birds get enough food and share our own earth responsibly. When you sit to draw, your body can sense when someone is behind you.This ability to body think allows you to place yourself in the best position for drawing, moving, playing and understanding instinctively how other people and objects exist  in relation to you.

You feel empathy and offer help

when you see others who are struggling with problems  and you rejoice with them when they are happy. Thinking in dimensions, or choosing the perspective from which you personally see the courtyard, is an important way to honor and accept your own point of view. You can model by making things larger or smaller than they really are so you can understand them better.

By playing

with your pencil and paints, you will be more carefree,  taking chances and, no doubt,

transform mistakes into opportunities!

Finally by combining or synthesizing your different ways of seeing, sensing, remembering, moving, knowing  and making connections, you will understand more deeply how we all are connected. I learned to articulate this way of looking,  from teaching in a school culture with  teachers who consistently teach encouraging  these skills.

Thank you to all who shared your art of teaching with me and the students at Searingtown School!

Do you think creativity is important in education?  I'd love to hear what you have to say .. just add your comment below!