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When setting up your classroom for online learning, it’s important to rethink the “how” and the “what” of your curriculum. While some might be teaching an art survey type of course, which lends itself to a variety of options, others are left wondering, what now? Teaching ceramics or metalsmithing is just not going to happen as it would in the classroom. Finding a balance in preparing our students for next year and beyond with skills that can carry throughout their life and keep them creating is a challenge. Teaching a traditional drawing course might allow you to continue to build skills, but when soldering at home isn’t an option, it’s time to rethink the purpose of your art curriculum and teaching online.
When changing your teaching location or moving to online learning, it is essential to be grounded in your foundational teaching philosophy. Personally, teaching for creativity is always at the root of what I teach. Regardless of what my students will become or where they will go in their careers, creative thinking will help them approach life with curiosity and engage with the world in deep and meaningful ways.
Take a look at these three categories of creative thinking that can help set you and your students up for success:
Creative Boosts are quick and fun exercises that engage in thoughtful play. These are usually one-day, one-off experiences to incorporate in the classroom or out. Boosts provide a creative stretch when working through a longer artwork. They are also rooted in exploration and experimentation, such as creative uses for unconventional art media.
Download a great scavenger photo hunt here.
Constraint Challenges exercise the imagination through unrealistic prompts and design thinking challenges. Consider how your students could combine and transform to push limits and boundaries. Especially in a time when materials may not be available, the imagination is boundless. Constraint Challenges usually take one day to a week. Students could spend thirty minutes brainstorming ideas, or five days folding paper and assembling cardboard.
Creative Sparks are the little push of creativity students can use to inspire a more developed artwork. These are short exercises from fifteen minutes to one day. Students use these to get moving and thinking, to collect information, and to engage their next creation.
With so many changes happening at once, continue to stay grounded in your teaching philosophy. Continue to find ways to engage with your students, help take their minds off of the more serious news, and help them create away from the computer screen. Remember to always consider your teaching options through the lens of equity and access for your students. Now is a perfect time to demonstrate the importance of creative thinking when changing to online learning. Just think, you are not only supporting your students in creating artwork but also providing them essential skills to think outside-the-box as they solve our world’s next big problems.
Can you identify your philosophical foundation for teaching in your art room? How does that help you remain grounded when your world turns upside down?
In what ways are you teaching creativity through remote learning?
How can you schedule Creativity Boosts, Constraint Challenges, and Creative Sparks in your curriculum?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.