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Margaret Thiele: Go Get Lost!

Margaret Thiele    Leave a Comment   

I recently relocated to a new city. Except for the heat, which made for a very long two days in loading and unloading everything, this move has gone smoothly. Relocating to a new city not...

I recently relocated to a new city. Except for the heat, which made for a very long two days in loading and unloading everything, this move has gone smoothly. Relocating to a new city not only requires moving all my earthly possessions, but it also means finding new doctors, dentists, stores and more. While the internet is great, and I do have navigation systems on my phone and in my car that will lead me directly to where I want to go, I have found that if I just get in my car and take the risk of getting lost, I learn so much more about the area.

For one thing, I find new ways to get home, which is definitely helpful with summer construction and detours that seem to pop up all over. But even more helpful, I find new sites worthy of investigation such an amazing park, an interesting boutique, intriguing eateries, or other helpful businesses to keep in mind for future needs—such as a shop where I can get my bicycle repaired. It does require more time than if I used my GPS and travel the direct route, however, I never really realized how helpful it could be to get lost.

The MAEIA Connection
When it comes to exploring the MAEIA website, it helps to just go get lost. The MAEIA website provides an excellent search engine for locating exactly what you need for an assessment, such as: the specific concept, discipline, grade level, or Content Standard. In addition, you can do a keyword search if you are only vaguely sure of what you want in an assessment. But, to become really familiar with the assessments I recommend getting lost.

Just dive in and start reading through the assessments. You will always be able to find your way back to the home page, no problem. You certainly will become more familiar with assessments in order to answer questions and guide participants when conducting a face-to-face.

You will likely find many other helpful items along the way, such as: ideas for teaching that you might want to modify for a different grade or discipline, ideas for integrating other topics/disciplines into your own teaching or for assisting classroom teachers, or maybe an assessment to keep in mind for future reference—when you try out that new unit you have been thinking about.

It will take a time commitment, and if you don’t have the time at the moment you can always take the direct route with the easy navigation tools at the top of the Browse MAEIA Model Assessments page. However, if you take the time to explore, you will find it to be time well spent. So go ahead, just get lost!

A downloadable pdf of this article is available here MThiele_GoGetLost.

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Thank you, MCACA!

Heather Vaughan-Southard    Leave a Comment   

We are grateful for the support of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs for 2017-2018! Earlier this summer, MAEIA Leadership Fellows Holly Olszewski, wrote a blog...

We are grateful for the support of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs for 2017-2018!

Earlier this summer, MAEIA Leadership Fellows Holly Olszewski, wrote a blog a post about MCACA.

Here is an excerpt:

“Far too many projects in the arts have the lights ‘turned out’ because they lack the funding to continue. Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Michigan Council on Arts and Cultural Affairs council meeting and hear the wonderful ways in which this government agency is keeping the lights on for many projects throughout our fair state. It was fitting that the council meeting took place in the Carnegie Library Building (1903) in downtown Traverse City under this beautiful lighting fixture, giving light and symbolizing a tradition of quality.”

More about MCACA from Holly’s post:

“The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) is a council made up of 15 individuals appointed by the governor. It is the state government’s lead agency charged with developing arts policy as well as grant making. The Council works to fulfill its mission by serving as champions, advocates and a point of connection and coordination for the field with legislative, corporate and other leaders with an interest in seeing the mission of MCACA fulfilled.”

We are fortunate to have the support from MCACA to fulfill our own mission of advancing creativity in education.

 

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Rebecca Arndt: Why is MAEIA so important?

Rebecca Arndt    Leave a Comment   

I have been asked what is the MAEIA project and why so important? The simple answer is I want to give my students the best of me and the best opportunities to...

I have been asked what is the MAEIA project and why so important? The simple answer is I want to give my students the best of me and the best opportunities to experience music and to develop an appreciation for all genres of music.

When I joined a MAEIA pilot program, I didn’t know what I was really getting myself into. I just knew that I was going to be presenting assessments to my students and sending them out to get graded. 

Doing these assessments was different, challenging and definitely rewarding to me as an educator. It was a great way for me to see exactly where my students were struggling and excelling. I am sure many of us have those students who you think are really getting it but when presented with an assessment that isn’t a whole group activity they don’t seem to grasp the concepts that have been presented.

These assessments give you a step by step way to test your students.

These assessments aren’t changing what you are teaching but maybe how you instruct and gather informative and formative assessments.

After doing the first assessment I knew that I needed to change what I thought about my teaching and how my students learned.

I  needed to do some pre teaching of different techniques. For example with melodic contour, I used to primarily use body movement or look at sheet music. Drawing the melody line was a foreign to me as Urdu. I knew that I needed to add this element to my teaching so that the students could perform this task without being unsure of the task.

Doing this type of activity was fun for them and for me as their teacher. They didn’t even realize they were being assessed. They thought it was “art”.   

These assessment tools were a great way for me to teach concepts in a different manner than the Quaver curriculum that our district uses. Using the MAEIA assessments have helped me become a stronger teacher and in turn has helped my students’ love of music continue to grow.

Rebecca D. Arndt is a K-5 general music teacher for the Taylor School District, she also teaches a 4/5 grade combined choir. Prior to teaching in Taylor she also taught in Waterford Schools for 13 years. While in Waterford she taught k-5 general music and choir. She is a MAEIA Leadership Fellow. 

A downloadable pdf of this post is available here: Rebecca Arndt: Why MAEIA is Important. 

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Visual arts educators collaboratively review student work during the MAEIA arts assessment field test. The MAEIA Project has created 350 arts performance assessments in visual arts, dance, music, and theatre for voluntary use by K-12 Michigan teachers.

Janine Campbell: The Lasting Impact of Quality Professional Development

Heather Vaughan-Southard    Leave a Comment   

Professional development is an impactful tool for teachers. When it is directed in ways that allows teachers to take what they have learned and apply it in their own classrooms to engage students, it becomes...

Professional development is an impactful tool for teachers. When it is directed in ways that allows teachers to take what they have learned and apply it in their own classrooms to engage students, it becomes one of the most powerful tools we have. If you are interested in help assessing your district’s or school’s access to Arts-specific learning opportunities for professional learning, use the Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment Blueprint and Program Review Tool.

I am fortunate that I have had the continued opportunity to participate in and even lead quality Arts-specific professional development throughout my teaching career. Each conference, keynote, and presentation has made an impact on my approach to teaching in big ways and small. A key approach when I attend any conference is to take one idea, tool, or method and find a way to weave it into my practice.

Last April, I had the privilege to participate in “The Power of Art Conference” at The Lab School in Washington D.C. This three-day event gave me the opportunity to meet teachers from across the country, hear from thought-leaders in Arts Integration, and tour a school in our Nation’s Capitol that puts the Arts in the heart of their instruction. The Lab School hosted the event because of their commitment to Arts Integration and their history of sharing with teachers what is possible when you bring content and classrooms together for big, bold collaborative projects.

Over the years, collaboration is something that I have pushed more and more with my students. It has looked differently depending on what our end goals were; sometimes we did small group projects and sometimes we planned events that included the entire school. Regardless of the end result, the goals have always been for students participating to not only learn about the content covered through the creation of the collaboration, but to also feel a connection to those who are a part of making it. I often call these projects, “Legacy Projects” because of their lasting, visual impact on the school.

At The Lab School, legacy projects are everywhere. From the mosaic columns and the dragon fountain in the courtyard, to the large installation works often created with the help of well-known artists like one of the key figures in the school, Robert Rauschenberg, you can see something made by students in every area of the school. Each year before his passing, Rauschenberg would come and create a large collaborative work with the students for display in the school. Each time, something different was created and a new approach would be taken; each time, students knew they were creating something that would be left for others to view for years to come. This was something I knew I wanted to bring back to my school and weave into my teaching practice right away.

Fortunately, I did not have to wait very long before I was able to do just that. After returning home from “The Power of Art Conference,” I soon received an opportunity to use collaboration as a springboard into a large mixed-media piece my students made for one of the largest art competitions in the world: ArtPrize. The 19 day competition is celebrating its ninth year and has opened up a Youth Collaboration Award for the first time this year with a classroom grant of $5000 to those with the most votes.

Our collaborative work, “Painting Under Paper Cuts,” involves three 4x8ft panels and is a visual reaction to a week of state testing that happened to be occurring during its creation. Students started with choosing paint from a variety of colors. They were asked to paint how they felt and use brushes, sponges, and other tools, including their hands, to make marks overtop each of the panels. They then worked in pairs to create cut out images from separate pieces of colored paper that included images of their classmates and various symmetrical and asymmetrical circle patterns. These pieces were pasted on top of the painted panels. This work will be displayed during ArtPrize at Monroe Community Church in Downtown Grand Rapids from September 20th-October 8th. You can view and vote on site with your smartphone for the work at www.artprize.org/65259. Once the competition completes, the work will find a permanent home in our Library at our school.

I am thankful I work in a school that embraces the opportunities offered through quality Professional Development. Because I use what I have learned through these experiences in tangible ways in my practice, I am able to show my students and the greater school community what is possible when ideas are put into practice and when students come together to create a positive visual impact on their environment. These collaborations are one of the best parts of my job and one that my students often comment on as their favorite, too. If you would like more information on The Lab School of Washington D.C. or “The Power of Art Conference” and how to get involved, visit their website.

Do you work with the principles Janine listed above in your Visual Arts classroom? MAEIA suggests looking at the following assessment items:

V.T304 Applying Principles of Design to Paper Cutouts

V.T407 Collaborative Compositions

V.E404 Communicating an Idea

**Janine Campbell is the Visual Arts Teacher at Byron Center West Middle School and is a Visual Arts team member of the Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment Program. Her classroom has won local and national recognition in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, as well as various grants for their use of technology. She was named a 2014 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator, 2015 Michigan Art Education Association Middle Level Educator of the Year, and 2015 National Art Education Association Middle Level Educator of the Year. You can see more of her students’ work in the classroom at www.bcwmsart.weebly.com.

A downloadable pdf of this post is available here Janine Campbell_Quality Professional Development.

 

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Thinking about Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness?

Heather Vaughan-Southard    Leave a Comment   

It is that time of year again! With the beginning of the school year, comes the development of Individual Development Plans for teachers. Last year, we recorded multiple webinars related to Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness. Topics...

It is that time of year again! With the beginning of the school year, comes the development of Individual Development Plans for teachers.

Last year, we recorded multiple webinars related to Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness. Topics covered included: How to create a sample of students for data collection, how to collect data, writing SLOs, documenting instruction, and how to prepare to present data in a final meeting with an administrator.

You can find those webinar presentations here. Look for the Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness series preceded by numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 for the order in which they were offered.

Best of luck on a smooth entry to the 2017-18 academic year!

 

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MAIEA in 2017-2018

Heather Vaughan-Southard    Leave a Comment   

Here are the MAEIA initiatives we are working on during 2017-18. How will you be joining us? MAEIA Professional Learning...

Here are the MAEIA initiatives we are working on during 2017-18. How will you be joining us?

MAEIA Professional Learning Community

  • Increasing visibility of MAEIA and providing further support for Michigan education professionals through Professional Learning and Communication Strategies.

Follow us on Facebook @MAEIAartsednetwork.org and Twitter @MAEIAartsednet.

Want to write about your MAEIA experience or topics in the field of education? Contact Heather Vaughan-Southard at hvsouthard@gmail.com to learn more.

MAEIA Leadership Fellows and Associates

A cadre of education professionals offering virtual and face-to-face presentations on the MAEIA tools and resources hosted by leaders in Professional Communities such as State Organizations, Arts Organizations, Districts in underserved areas, and with Teaching Artists.

Interested in learning more? Contact Ana Luisa Cardona at cardona.analuisa@gmail.com and/or Heather Vaughan-Southard at hvsouthard@gmail.com.

Collaborative Scoring System Pilot

An program in which we explore a platform and process for uploading student work to be scored by colleagues.

Are you a Visual Art or Music Educator interested in participating? Contact Jason O’Donnell at jodonnell@michiganassessmentconsortium.org.

Program Review Tool Pilot

The exploration of a web-based version of the MAEIA Program Review Tool.

Interested in learning more? Contact Karrie LaFave at Assistant@michiganassessmentconsortium.org.

MAEIA Re-Ignite 2018

  • Annual gathering for MAEIA Founding Contributors, Key Communicators, Leadership Fellows, Associates, Partners, and Project Management Team scheduled for August 7, 2018.
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Heather Vaughan-Southard: Who Teaches That Way?

Heather Vaughan-Southard    Leave a Comment   

Years ago, I worked with a colleague who told me she had viewed the catalogue of MAEIA assessment items and wondered, “Who Teaches that Way?” I think her impression was there was a lot of...

Years ago, I worked with a colleague who told me she had viewed the catalogue of MAEIA assessment items and wondered, “Who Teaches that Way?” I think her impression was there was a lot of theory embedded in the assessments and I speculate that perhaps she felt she didn’t have that much time to dedicate to theory.

My thoughts at that time were:
1. Our goal was to create assessments which fit naturally into the curriculum you teach but also items which may push you outside of your norms.

2. Any time “how” is asked, we enter the territory of theory. Perhaps the theoretical principles presented in your class are not the same as those represented in select assessment items, but could the assessment item be adapted to address your theoretical approach or maybe it is the charge of turning “implicit” or discreet curriculum into “explicit” curriculum. With time and/or conversation with someone who does teach that way, it might make more sense and seem more feasible.

My thoughts now are:
Perhaps we would be better served to think of MAEIA as a Professional Learning Community rather than merely a set of resources. If so, the answer to her question of “Who teaches that way?” is “We do. Let us explain how, why, what, and when.”

MAEIA starts to feel more like a practice than a protocol. A lifestyle, a means to so many ends. I felt the MAEIA work helped me better understand the components of measurement, but even more impressively helped me better organize my conversations with students, my administrators, and families.

In my role now as Professional Learning Developer, I often hear from teachers who are asking why they didn’t know about MAEIA sooner. Certainly, visibility is one of our goals. Use of the assessment items, and the other resources is too. But it is connection which makes the work most meaningful.

When we connect with ourselves to improve our work and save time, we advance.

When we connect with others to deepen their work and drive the dialogues further, we advance.

When we connect with a larger community, we engage and contribute to conversations which shape the landscapes our students and our families experience. We advance.

We are advancing creativity in education. Join us. Bring others.

Subscribe to the MAEIA newsletter, use the assessment items, attend or host presentations, connect with the Leadership Fellows, share and comment on our social media posts. Watch videos from the Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness pilot or contact us for information on the Collaborative Scoring System pilot.

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Cheryl L. Poole: What about the lesson plans?

Cheryl Poole    Leave a Comment   

“These assessments are fine but where are the lessons?” That was the question I would sometimes hear in the conference exhibition booth when introducing the MAEIA assessments to educators attending the conference. They...

“These assessments are fine but where are the lessons?”

That was the question I would sometimes hear in the conference exhibition booth when introducing the MAEIA assessments to educators attending the conference. They were impressed with the actual assessment but, for them, something was missing.

What were they looking for that they didn’t see?
Were they so accustomed to believing that they were asked to “teach to the test” that they assumed that an assessment would be packaged with prescribed lessons? The ones who asked the question seemed to regard the performance assessments as only being half useful. Their reaction implied that I was offering something cool but a tool that only began halfway through their teaching task. The best I could surmise was that they wanted the instruction that would set the stage for these assessments. I think they wanted the ‘whole package’ and how could I clarify what I was offering quickly, before they walked past my booth? I couldn’t think fast enough to have an answer for them in the moment.

Here are four answers that I thought of later that I could have given them.

  1. 1. Using your curriculum and lessons, choose assessments that fit what you are already doing. Select the assessments that align with what you teach and how you teach. There are so many assessments that there will most certainly be ones that match your curriculum and personal instruction.

2. Using your curriculum and familiar lessons, change the assessments to make them fit. Teach the “what and how” that you enjoy. Select a model assessment that will work pretty well but needs a little tweaking to better match your teaching style, the processes your students are familiar with, or simply aligns better with the curriculum you use.

3. Find a model assessment that gives you some fresh instructional ideas and modify your lesson to make best use of the assessment. The model that you use should still fit meaningfully with your curriculum but perhaps simple tweaking to how/what you teach could clear a path to using the assessment to which you are drawn.

4. And, finally, one more option that has proven to be a big boon for teachers like Margaret Thiele who recently blogged about her experience, peruse the array of assessments created for your grade level. Search criteria for appropriateness for your curriculum and simply review the catalogue for inspiration of ways to teach concepts in new, creative ways. Find an assessment that puts a totally new spin on what and how you teach.

Have you used any of the MAEIA model assessments yourself? What was your approach? Was it different than the ones I could think of? Share your experiences that might nudge others to take the leap.

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Holly Olszewski: MCACA- Keeping the Lights On

Holly Olszewski    Leave a Comment   

Far too many projects in the arts have the lights ‘turned out’ because they lack the funding to continue. Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the

Far too many projects in the arts have the lights ‘turned out’ because they lack the funding to continue. Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Michigan Council on Arts and Cultural Affairs council meeting and hear the wonderful ways in which this government agency is keeping the lights on for many projects throughout our fair state. It was fitting that the council meeting took place in the Carnegie Library Building (1903) in downtown Traverse City under this beautiful lighting fixture, giving light and symbolizing a tradition of quality.

The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) is a council made up of 15 individuals appointed by the governor. It is the state government’s lead agency charged with developing arts policy as well as grant making. The Council works to fulfill its mission by serving as champions, advocates and a point of connection and coordination for the field with legislative, corporate and other leaders with an interest in seeing the mission of MCACA fulfilled.

Through their mission, To encourage, initiate and facilitate an enriched artistic, cultural and creative environment in Michigan, MCACA in 2017 awarded 504 grants totalling $9,736,672 to fund projects, programs and regranting programs in the state of Michigan.

Programs receiving grants:

  • Operational support $4,853,153
  • Project program $903,657
  • Capital Improvements program $2,226,485
  • Regional regranters $700,000
  • Services to the field $629,000
  • Arts in education residencies $298,198
  • New leaders retention/engagement $126.179

Among the regranting partners, regional regranters in 65 counties received 252 grants.  The touring arts grant through the Michigan Humanities Council granted 148 grants in 37 counties.  The Michigan Youth Arts Association  granted 56 schools in 28 counties through their Art equipment/supplies program, and served 24 counties with 129 awards through their Arts and Culture Trek program for transportation.

Over all, MCACA shed light all over the state including 14 out of 14 congressional districts, 38 out of 38 Senate districts and 108 out of 110 House Districts.  When regranting is included, there were a total of 1068 grants awarded in 78 counties.

Using grants from MCACA and Arts Midwest, along with two other arts agencies, organizers in Flint are helping the children devastated by the Flint Water Crisis heal their community through the arts. Throughout the coming year, the community of Flint and its children will benefit from programs through Midwest World Fest, a program that facilitates week long residencies in midwest communities for world class performers.

MCACA along with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has unveiled an app that identifies the public art nearest you. The MI Art Tours app has information about each piece, the artist as well as  directions to get there. It also has built-in tours, local and statewide.  There are 1,155 art works and 72 built-in tours.  It is free to download from the Apple app store or on Google play.

This is an impressive list, but there were projects that went unfunded and grants that were requested and not awarded. A little over half of the $18,211,616  requested was granted.  This is a call for advocacy. MCACA can distribute the funds but it is up to us to continue to advocate with our state and federal leaders for increased funding for the Arts.  There is always more we can do when it comes to advocacy. The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies has a wonderful resource entitled The Five Essential Arguments.  NASAA, has many other wonderful articles and handouts that can be used to start the conversation.  It would be amazing if MCACA could fund every grant request.

There are also many opportunities for those looking to enrich their own lives by giving back.  MCACA asks every year for volunteers to sit on review panels to read and score the grant proposals.  More information on this opportunity can be found at MCACA’s website.

Michigan Arts Education, Assessment, and Instruction (MAEIA) is funded in part with a grant from MCACA, and we are grateful for their continued support.

 

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Carrie Jeruzal: Redesign- Make it Bad, Then Make it Better

Carrie Jeruzal    Leave a Comment   

Just like great art, great art education is often inspired by personal experiences. But, not always in the way one might expect…. A couple of years ago my oldest daughter’s class was holding a...

Just like great art, great art education is often inspired by personal experiences. But, not always in the way one might expect….

A couple of years ago my oldest daughter’s class was holding a bake sale during a community event as a fundraiser for a field trip. I don’t have much confidence or experience in baking so I thought this one “treat recipe” that I found online would be cute, easy and perfect for a busy mom like me. Well, it wasn’t so easy and I messed it up terribly. Turns out candy kisses look the same slightly melted as they do burnt and one should not let them stay in the oven, “just a little bit longer!”

So I took a deep breath, ate some burnt chocolate, regained my strength and senses and decided to persist by getting creative with my odd sense of humor. So, tongue-in-cheek, I created a new recipe embracing the struggle. I called it “Mommy Can’t Bake Mix”.

Mommy Can’t Bake Mix
Step 1: Wait till the last minute to make baked goods for your daughter’s bake sale. Go to the store at night when most of the other crazies and overworked moms are out.

Step 2: Look up easy recipe on phone that literally requires two minutes of baking time. Step 3: Screw up baking and throw tantrum / blame husband for no reason.

Step 4: Pout for a minimum of 5 minutes.

Step 5: Think to self, “Failure is Impossible,”- Susan B Anthony.

Step 6: Throw failed ingredients into a bag anyway along with random treats found in cupboard like pretzels, m&ms, crackers, marshmallows, croutons, cough drops, glitter, etc.

Step 7: Get computer genius husband to make cute labels.

Step 8: Put it on social media like a legit baking mom would.

The end.

If these treats were going to be bad, I was going to make them really bad. It became fun and funny. They became a novelty. I hoped people would buy them, not for the “treat” that was inside, but for the clever concept behind them. I ended up selling 5 bags! Turns out homemade brownies taste and sell better than clever concepts, however, I still counted success points in creativity!

So, what did I learn from this “lemons to lemonade” moment, and how did I apply it to art education? I learned that when the objective of a problem becomes to make something really bad, the doors of humor and creativity become wide open. That’s where I got the idea for my middle school “Redesign” learning unit which leads to the MAEAI V.T209 Performance Task: Redesign- Make it Bad, Then Make it Better. 

“Redesign” Learning Unit

Introduction: I start by introducing my students to the concept of object/product design, design thinking and the design process. We look at examples of everyday objects and talk about the differences between good design and bad design depending on factors such as the object’s intended use, intended customer, cost of materials, durability, demand, etc. All students share a story of a time when a product broke or failed. We also look at and describe the evolution of a product’s design such as a car, the telephone and the vacuum cleaner. Students get concrete examples as to how visual arts have inherent relationships to everyday life through these product designs. Then it’s time for students to engage in a 2-4 day performance task.

Performance Task V.T209: I start the task by asking students to all select a different everyday-manmade-designed-object by having them cut one out of a magazine ad. I have also modified the task by asking all students to start with the same object, such as a shoe. I have instructed students both ways and by settling on one object for everyone to focus on I do sacrifice the variety of outcomes, but I also save on time and the need for cutting and pasting materials. Either way, once the object is selected students are asked to reflect upon and explain the current relationship of the object to everyday life.

Then begins the fun part. Instruct students to make it bad. Invite them to redesign the product so that it is truly terrible by transforming it into something impractical, unappealing, and/or harder to use.

In order to do this, the student must recognize the object’s intended use and successful design attributes and design against them. I tell my students that as long as their ideas are school appropriate, (no potty humor, nothing mean spirited or overly violent), that there are no limits to their creativity! At first some of my more regimented students don’t quite understand me, they don’t believe that I’m actually telling them to make something bad. I have to clarify that they are exercising their creativity in a new way by thinking about a design problem from a fresh perspective.

By exploring what makes something really bad, you in turn are also open to exploring its opposite design, what might make it really good. Then lightbulbs. Then students sketch truly creative results that they can’t wait to share with the class.

“Shark Shoes”

One of my favorites created by a 6th grade girl was a design that we quickly knick-named, “Shark Shoes.” What would make a pair of shoes the most uncomfortable shoes ever? Well, the answer is tiny sharks swimming in the bottom of your shoes that would bite your toes all day, of course! Pair that with slippery seaweed soles and fish hook laces for added discomfort and you have a terribly creative design!

Students overwhelmingly enjoy this part of the process. They will fly around the room to share their ideas with everyone and anyone, each trying to one-up the others. It’s like I’m giving them permission to be silly and a little naughty and they love it! They reflect on their design through this verbal exchange and then in writing.

Then the next day the instructions flip. Students are asked to reimagine the design of their object to be even better than the current design. They must solve the problem of how to improve it. Again, there are no restraints to their creativity and they must reflect upon their design once it is complete. The first image above is a “good design” for a shoe that can not only adjust the temperature of your feet cooler or warmer depending on comfort zone required, but can emit four different pleasant fragrances including lavender and grape fizz from a secret compartment in the heel.

In conclusion, instructing to develop student creativity doesn’t always take a safe and expected path. Just like in real life, approaching a problem from a fresh point of view can open our minds and force us to think in new and interesting ways. Design problems can be fun and silly. Our best ideas sometimes arise from our failures when we give ourselves and our students the opportunity to flip the measure of success.

 

This task is one that I wrote for the Michigan Arts Education and Instruction and Assessment (MAEIA) project. Here are links to the complete task booklets available for V.T209.

Teacher Booklet
Student Booklet

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