Participate in The Creativity Workshop's Barcelona experience, followed by an individual study of Moorish architecture in southern Spain, to inspire new learning that integrates pattern, math and art.
I learned exercises to build creative thinking, both in my personal work and in my teaching practice. As a result, I am using a sketchbook on a regular basis and am less concerned with the end product and more interested in the creative process. Through my independent travels and immersing myself in another culture, I have seen first hand how Islam has influenced the secular and religious spaces in Southern Spain. My content knowledge on pattern and architecture have grown tremendously.
I returned with so many new ideas about art and creativity that I can't wait to share with my students. I will incorporate the mindfulness and meditation techniques that I was taught. Students in upper grades keep a sketchbook. My art lessons on pattern will include connections to the exquisite architecture I saw in Southern Spain. My teaching will broaden as I introduce students to the ways in which one culture can influence the artistic styles of another culture.
This was an experience of a lifetime. One of the biggest take-aways from the workshop is realizing that creativity is a muscle which needs to be exercised or it will atrophy .Creativity builds upon itself. Throughout the workshop, we learned that you must allow yourself to "fail, fail again and fail better" and learn from the missteps. Through my independent travels, I was able to see in person cultural art and architecture that I had only seen small scale reproductions of.
I will use exercises that I learned to encourage my students to have their " hands move faster than their brains", and move out of their comfort zone. I will share my travels to Moorish Spain when I teach my unit on "Pattern in Art" introducing my students to the variety of Islamic patterns that I saw during my travels. They will learn how to recreate these patterns using geometric shapes. As a result, they will connect their work to another culture and strengthen their math skills.
I would like to present some of the writing exercises I learned at the Workshop in Barcelona during one of our school-wide professional developments. I will work with our classroom teachers to include the study of geometric pattern in their math curriculum. I would also like to collaborate with other arts teachers who have attended the Creativity Workshop to explore presenting our experiences to arts teachers in the Boston Public School District.
We have an annual "Arts Night" at our school. It is the biggest family event at my school. I will celebrate my students art work with a "Pattern Around the World" exhibit featuring their artwork inspired by my travels in Andalusia.
I think it is important for students to learn about cultures which are very different from theirs. Many problems in the world are due to misunderstandings and a lack of knowledge of different people. When students learn about another culture and their artistic traditions, they begin to understand that there are different approaches to life. Hopefully when students learn about artistic traditions from another country, they will enrich and expand their knowledge and art-making.
The fellowship to Spain provided an opportunity to embark on two distinctive journeys ; the Creativity Workshop taught me techniques to ignite my own creativity and those of my students, and my travels to Andalucia provided a window into the unique artistic and cultural traditions of Moorish Spain. I will use this travel experience to inspire my teaching. My knowledge of the visual element of pattern and architecture is now broader and my teaching techniques are more diverse.