The Balancing Act came up with a task for ourselves in the exploration of our inquiry question.  This task involves trying out an inquiry based approach to a lesson as well as a direct instruction approach to the same lesson.  I’m sure we all teach with inquiry in mind and it is usually included at some point in a lesson.  However, I have not focused on completely changing over and letting go in my classroom.  Some of the my group members are going through the opposite situation in which they need to learn when to pull back the reigns.  At our last meeting, I was all ears in wanting to know things that they have done to let their students experience inquiry. 

When I saw the article “Creativity and Imagination: Tools for Teaching Artistic Inquiry,”  I thought this would be a great starting point for me.  Karen Heid, the author of the article is saying that artists  make decisions by “perceiving  conceiving, expressing and reflecting.”  This model could be helpful when planning art lessons which include inquiry.  Karen’s study of the idea involved Kindergarten students being paired with third grade students.  She used synectics as an approach to teach surrealism.  When she spoke in the “Background” of how many art teachers usually introduce the topic of surrealism – I could identify with this because it has been an approach that I have taken.  I much prefer the process that Karen took…1.  beginning with brainstorming of organic and inorganic objects and “perceiving” how they could be combined into one.  2.  Next the students come up with a “concept”  from the two objects which turned into a singular drawing.  3.  The students had to create an “expression” of how these two objects could believably be turned into one.  4.  Finally the students “reflected” on the work as well as the process and what was learned along the way. 

This model was a good example for me to read.  I saw a great combination of control and release of control to the students.  I think of one of my group members (Carol), when I think of these four steps.   At our last meeting, Carol was discussing her elementary students mixing color.  Instead of giving the students direct instructions on what colors they were to mix, she let them have some time to experiment on their own.  I think these four steps were there Carol.  I’m not sure what my first lesson teaching with an inquiry based approach as well as a direct approach is going to be at this point.  However, I feel more confident keeping these steps in mind as well as having the opportunity to listen to ideas from my CIG members.

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