Friday, August 12, 2011

The Painted Word: An Altered Book Workshop for Teachers

Today I presented a workshop for teachers at Mansfield University. This was at a conference called "The Painted Word" put on by the Endless Mountains Writing Project and the Endless Mountains Reading Council. My workshop allowed participants to learn about and create altered books for creative writing journals.

In my session, I introduced some projects that allow for cross-curriculum connections. These are especially great for the students in our classrooms that learn best when they are doing creative projects. We looked at some examples of student projects, and then we all started our own altered book. First we used acrylic paint to decorate the cover of an existing recycled book. After a review of basic color wheel theory, we experimented with acrylic techniques such as impasto and scumbling.

These books are going to be writing journals/visual journals. Next we used watercolor paint to make some pages for the interior. Some of the favorite techniques of the day included salt technique, wet-on-wet, and painting with bubble wrap.

We listened to a short talk by Ken Robinson. He has some important points for teachers to remember about the need for schools to move from standardization to personalization.

Integrating art with other subjects is very important, especially today. The Learning Focused Schools (LFS) model is the current trend in education. One of the key ingredients for success in the studies they cite (Reeves, 2003) is the stress put on "cross-disciplinary curriculum integrating subjects currently downplayed (e.g. art, music)."

Remember, according to Bloom's Revised Taxonomy, creativity is the highest order of thought! Eliminating creative projects from schools is just plain nuts! We need more of it, not less -- especially projects that help them make connections between disciplines.

What a great bunch of teachers! We all had a great time learning and sharing ideas. I sat in on a few of the other sessions, and learned some new things myself.

The picture above shows me trying to look "teacher-ish".