Art and Innovative Teaching

In the book, The Innovator's Mindset, George Couros provides some critical questions for the innovative educator. 1) Would I want to be a learner in my own classroom? 2) What is best for this student? 3) What is the student's passion? 4) What are some ways we can create a true learning community? 5) How did this work for our students? Christian Parker is an art teacher. He was struggling with teaching a concept to his students that in past years they just couldn't grasp. Check out his reflections about his lesson. Innovative? In thinking about the questions, I would say definitely!

As an art teacher, I always try to keep the projects interesting to the students, but I have always struggled to teach second grade students how to create a sphere along with drawing the shadow to go with it. A simple sphere drawing does not keep the full attention of a 2nd grade student even when you give them the option to make it into a basketball or other sporting equipment. However this year all attention was given when the students were shown how to create their very own Pokeball. They were allowed to customize the Pokeball to their liking. I had students creating a NASAball, Catball, Rainbowball, and the list goes on and on. Since the students were so entertained by the fact they now knew how to create a Pokeball, they were much more interested in understanding why and how the shadows and lines worked to create the sphere shape. Working a current event topic into something as simple as a sphere project made a world of difference in the student’s excitement to learn.

This is a great example, I believe, where a teacher cared about his students enough to persist in finding a strategy that would be successful. Christian's lesson is an example that Couros describes in his book as "a technique that empowered his students to succeed. That is the innovator's mindset exemplified: Try, fail, and try something else until you find or create a solution that works." Check out the examples below. Would you consider the lesson successful based on the student's work? Innovative? What do you think?

Be Innovative - Design the possibilities!