Teachers Connect
Jul 16, 2013

Institute 2: Questions to Advance the Envisioning Process

Think back to working on the flag-book.  Reflect on your creative process and the habits of mind.  What habit seemed most needed as you worked?  Students need to be able to envision their final book to be successful at completing their project in a satisfactory way – both for the teacher and the student.  What kinds of questions can you ask to help them envision before the project begins and employ one of the “habits”?    During its execution?

10 Responses to Institute 2: Questions to Advance the Envisioning Process

  1. Sonia says:

    At the beginning of a project, I briefly explain to my students what we will be doing. I then like to show them a sample of what we will be doing. I like spending 5-10 letting them observe and manipulate the sample before asking them what they think we will be needing to as far as material goes and how will we go about realizing it. This habit of letting the students observe, manipulate and speculate helps them get more involved in the project rather than just telling them what to do and how to do it. It also involves some planning and brainstorming so to avoid “mistakes”.

  2. Mary Beth Bauernschub says:

    I had no plan at all for my flag book before hand. I looked at the materials that I picked for the cover and end pages and asked myself what would compliment the outside. When I saw the stamps and the colors, I found two different themes I could be working on, leaves or Native American images. I went with the realistic leaves because of the outside of the book. I chose colors brown, red, orange, and green for the stamps and age yellowed the tags. To my eye, all of this went with the outward theme of the book. The color selection also goes with the changes leaves go through over a year.
    I used the habits: “express” (changes in leaves colors) and “stretch and explore” (for playing with a few ideas and colors before I found a theme and plan that worked for me.
    For students, I’d have them stretch and explore to play around with ideas, editing, rejecting and getting used to materials, colors, and themes. I would also limit colors and themes for the students. It can be overwhelming for students with too many options, (like me today, kind of lost until I found something that worked.) I like the idea of taking a person’s life and doing a flag book like a time line using photos and objects to tell the story. It could be way for the students to express understanding of a famous person or themselves (envision) and creating the book(express).

  3. Marja Ponkka-Carpenter says:

    I found it challenging to envision the final,or, even work-in process- project. I could not wrap my brain over the construction that might have housed endless possibilities…Just, could not find one. Worked on technical manipulation. Only.
    Needed to understand the structure inside out and what it can do.
    Boxed in without a string of imagination. “How to” information spooned in. Wasted time wondering. Started drawing the history of architecture with a one single, simple line – just to realize that it will take for ever to finnish and, I did dot have the luxury of time on my side.
    I needed envision that wasn’t there…Until, we saw numerous flack book “illustrations” on the screen…that looked exciting with a form…Results, yet to be seen.

  4. Zenola Jacobs says:

    I would have the students access prior knowledge by asking them about the other types of books that they may have seen other than the standard books. I would also show the students of a flag book.

    During the execution, I would ask the students if they think the project was fun. I may also ask why they have chosen certain colors. It may also be relevant to ask if they could think of another way to do their books other than the way they were instructed. Finally, I would ask them to compare their books to their peers books.

  5. Jan says:

    I had no idea what type of flag book I wanted to make. So I think the habit I used most today was understanding the art world. I asked a lot of questions today as I was playing around in my mind about what in the world I was going to make. I looked at the samples Rosemary and Denise had made. And I looked at them again. Front and back. Holding the book vertically; holding it horizontally. Trying to figure out just how it works and how it will look.
    Then I walked around and looked at everyone else’s books. I talked to people.
    It took me awhile to come up with a “workable” idea.
    I think I would need to give my third grade students time to “discover” the books before they actually make one, in whatever format they end up making. And throughout the process I would hope they would ask questions of me or their classmates.
    I’m excited about the flag book I am making because I plan to have it in the classroom library. It will be fun to see what kind of responses the book gets.

  6. E Henry says:

    Stretch and Explore is what was needed as I worked. I was totally stuck after we were told to get started. I understood how to complete the assignment but I wasn’t sure how i was going to fuse my creativity to it.
    I try to start with projects that allow my students to feel like they can do it. So I thought about storms to match my previous project. But as I looked at the materials, I didn’t have the materials that I wanted to convey that. I went through a couple of ideas before I started using the materials. But at the end of the day, I came home and decided to change it altogether and do something totally different.
    I want my students to understand that art doesn’t end at the end of class. It can continue. You can change as you see fit. Its okay to start over.

  7. Amy says:

    Persistence and discovery and certainly the need to envision and plan. This project involved so many processes. I had to break it down into smaller manageable steps while trying to envision the whole. As I manipulated the materials and began to inhabit the form, I was then able to think of creative ways for content to be applied. I think brainstorming ideas with the kids about what this type of book could be used for would be helpful as they start to envision their own projects. It would be important to let them know that their ideas may change as they go forward. I felt like an explorer yesterday. I was on a journey. I did not know where I was going to end up, but I knew I had to keep going forward even as I came across obstacles.

  8. Elena says:

    It was hard for me to follow through on finishing my flag book today. The process led me to the realization that I couldn’t complete it without knowing exactly how it would be used for my concept in the end.
    To me, the flag book is almost magical in the way it operates. I envision my students being fascinated by it but also intimidated if they do not have time to experiment with color, texture, organization, etc.
    I learned that without experimentation, it was hard to figure out what to do. It is such a lovely book as a finished product that I wanted mine to have all the possible right touches too.
    Even though the instructors showed us how it worked several times, I had to play with their sample many times to gain an understanding of it myself. It was important to me to see that it can work both horizontally and vertically. I really saw today how important it is to give students time for exploration before, during, and after the time they are actually working.
    The flag book process also showed me how important the idea and writing phase of the project is. How could I envision how my flag book would be designed and organized without and clear idea of what it was going to be about in the end? After all, we do not want to create empty vessels here.
    For the visual piece I would ask students what they would want to put on their pages went along with the self-portrait idea. They could either draw, paint, collage.
    I would ask them where they would put the written part. Would the written part be separate from the visual? Or would the written part and the visual part be integrated? How will the book be read? Vertically? Horizontally? or both? I would show examples.

  9. Brooke says:

    Form to function..function to form??? Revisiting the flag book was so fun, in its more complex rendition. Throughout the process I knew I would have to use it for poetry…but what form, what topic? I felt a bit overwhelmed but was willing to muddle through it. Reflecting upon my reaction once we were ‘released’ from using the flag book for poetry, I was able to let go and find a use that was so much more comfortable and surfaced quite naturally.
    How often do we subject students to this ? Is it a good part of the process? Does it make us “lean into the discomfort” and become more inventive,creative, and imaginative?

  10. Donna Jonte says:

    Working with the flag book structure and poetry forms was challenging. As we begain the flag book, I found it counterintuitive to make the structure before considering content, especially choosing papers and colors before knowing the Big Ideas of the book. The process was about craft–reviewing the steps involved in making the flag book, learning a new way to fold the accordion spine (reversing the paper at the last fold: what a great trick! and nesting the accordions together to join them! Now I will feel much more confident teaching this technique.). Writing the poetry was challenging too, fitting words to a structure rather than finding gorgeous words first. I will think more about the flag structure. Right now it seems very linear for my organic topic of Mama Miti planitng trees…

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