Teachers Connect
Jul 20, 2016


Reflecting on your processes each day (including mistakes) helps identify rudiments to use with your students as they work on their projects. During this week you are constructing samples of artists’ books and working with materials and tools that can be used in your educational setting. What are some of the characteristics of your process in creating these samples? (Here are some words to help you get started: evaluation, brainstorm, preparation, breakthrough re-invent, incubation, confusion, technique, spontaneity, action, steps, build, and implementation.)

28 Responses to PROCESS

  1. Amy says:

    I am impressed with the preparation of NMWA, both in thoroughness and in simplification. I feel like I am ready to go back to my classroom with my notes and samples and have my students make books. I need the time to jot down notes or pictures to remember on a deeper level of understanding, the tips the instructors have given and what I have discovered. The pacing this week has allowed for just enough step noting and clarification.

    • Margaret says:

      Hi Amy –
      I agree that with all we are learning I am nervous I will forget important details. However, I think between notes and our samples we will be able to use the two to remember specifics.


  2. Margaret says:

    This course has taught me how important it is to allow my students time to practice in order to create and feel invested in their projects. By knowing something is a sample or ‘just practice’ I felt free to make mistakes, especially knowing that I could always get another piece of paper. By allowing enough time to try out something new and make mistakes, you are able to create opportunities for breakthroughs and creativity.

    • Carmela La Gamba Bode says:

      And to add to your thoughts Margaret about giving students more time to practice, I am going to be more compliant immediately whenever my students ask to start over.

    • Erin says:

      Margaret, I agree with you .. knowing I could start something over made me willing to take more risks as I was working with the paper. I will definitely keep this in mind and make sure I have provided enough materials so my students have the same option to practice/start over/do multiple attempts.

  3. Sally says:

    One of the most “wow” moments for me thus far was when Carol Barton described the artists’ process as one of “trial and error.” So many of us think that artists have these magical processes that us regular people do not have access to. Today we were given many opportunities to test and play with artistic processes. I am learning from my mistakes, although they are hard to look at afterwards! I am also learning from the successes/struggles of those around me. I will be sure to share this “trial & error” viewpoint with my students.

    • Sandy says:

      Oh my gosh, yes, I have had a hard time looking at what seem to be my mistakes. Is there some expectation within me that I have to do whatever it is well the first time out, especially since time is so short this week and we have so much to do? I suspect that is part of it. Also, so much like my students, I am embarrassed by my mistakes and afraid of what others will think of me, which is, of course, negative in my mind. I loved Carol’s response to mistakes today, too. Trial and error, just another way to do it.

      • Julie says:

        I also love how Carol said that it’s not a failure, it’s a step towards a solution. One of my new favorite quotes from a recent visit to the Thomas Edison Museum, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.

  4. Sandy says:

    I don’t think I’ve used the same process twice this week; each has been tweaked particular to the project and my response to it. Some assignments have triggered inspiration, some confusion. One common important characteristic is my desire to feel I clearly understand the instructions. I like to pursue the interplay between my intuitive response to the project and my more technical/academic one. I tend, with intuition as my guide, to experiment within the parameters of the assignment, adapting my work along the way as I run into obstacles or get more ideas. Incubation or gestation time is important, too, for me, whether it be overnight or simply the time it takes to go on a bathroom break. My creativity seems to need to step away sometimes, and then to come back later with a refreshed outlook. (Many a wonderful idea has come to me during a bathroom break.) What I find to be the most frustrating characteristic of my processes this week is the challenging struggle between my passion to pursue these exciting ideas popping into my head and the need to stop, to move on to the next project, because of the limited time available.

  5. Lisa says:

    My process when creating these samples has been to listen carefully and follow the exampled model, though much of the time I have been acting on instinct. However my instinct is born from years of experience as an artist and student and even with this background, I found myself a little frustrated when I didn’t “get it” immediately when creating the pop-up platform card. I realized that as closely as I was listening, I missed the important step of the brackets being perpendicular.
    It’s important to remember this humbling moment as it may be something that my students will be challenged with as well. Instructions can get lost in the trial and error of creating and it can be frustrating to not immediately produce the desired result. It’s easy to forget at times that the world is brand new to children and they do not have a wealth of experience to draw from. Instead of rushing through the various steps, I will urge my students to take their time and remember that mistakes are part of the process of learning.

    • Sandy says:

      Well said, Lisa, thank you. I want to remember that, too.

    • Adrienne says:

      I hear you! Sometimes I have to force myself to not multi-task to ensure I’m listening to the directions to minimize mistakes, particularly when learning a new skill. And yet it’s SO HARD to put aside what I’m working on. This leaves a lot of unfinished pieces to return to at a later time to finish. It’s challenging.

  6. Adrienne says:

    My process has varied, depending on the product we were tackling at the time. In many cases, the limited time we had pushed me into working more spontaneously, without edits or drafts. Other times (and particularly with writing which I am less familiar with) I worked more slowly, making changes along the way. It’s nice to have a chance to work both ways–more reflective of what our students have to go through.

    • Sally says:

      The writing assignments definitely forced me to commit to an idea and bring it to fruition. Sometimes it is very helpful to get a push like that, if you naturally overthink or waver. So for me that was very beneficial.

  7. Adrienne says:

    Do we have access to a printer this week, to print out our writings or directions that are linked within the lessons?

  8. Jinny Choi says:

    I have been really getting in to teaching growth mindset in my classroom. We learn that the process is just as important or sometime more important than the product. We need to normalize mistake-making and also teach students that making mistakes is not negative but a positive thing! Students that are afraid of making mistakes don’t take risks. We aren’t used to this because we’re always looking for right and wrong. It’s important to teach students skills like VTS to show them that there isn’t always a right answer!

    • April says:

      Jinny, I agree 100%. I find that students are stressed about getting right answers versus spending time understanding their processes to understanding content. Mistakes are ok! Taking chances and taking risks lead to growth and discovery. Being right or perfect shouldn’t always be the goal–a hard lesson for some.

      • Judith says:

        Yes, Yes, Yes. I wish I had teachers who had let me feel comfortable making mistakes and learning from them. Instead I felt the pressure to get it right the first time especially when it was not my forte. I think about this now that I am an educator. I welcome mistakes because this is how we grow. I have learned to laugh at my mistakes.

    • Judith says:

      I read the book “Growth Mindset” by Carol Dweck. It was a new concept to me. I try to remember it. I have also purchased “Mindsets in the Classroom”‘s resource book by Mary Cay Ricci. She has a lot of wonderful ideas.

  9. Erin says:

    I really appreciated having the steps for each book clearly explained and demonstrated at a pace that was just right. I appreciated having extra materials on hand so that if I made a mistake or wanted to try a different technique I was able to; I need to remember to give my students the same chance to experiment with materials and different techniques. I think having that opportunity would help them be more willing to take risks in the creation of their own design. It might also discourage them from trying to make their piece look exactly like a sample they view.

  10. Carmela La Gamba Bode says:

    “Have a magnificent failure” was the advice of my first drawing teacher in art school. As the week progresses, I’m more willing to delve into the writing and VTS processes. As Lisa said, “its humbling” and I’m feeling productive which never happens.

  11. Julie says:

    I definitely connect to the word incubation. I often cannot produce on the spot, well maybe I can but I prefer time to think and revisit in order to really connect to what I’ve created. Mine seems to be a process of layers and layers of thoughts and ideas and along the way I have these breakthrough moments. Eventually it seems to all come together. I would love to be more intentional about guiding and encouraging my students to revisit their work over and over again to see how this might effect the final outcome.

  12. April says:

    My process has changed depending on the project we are learning. I am not an artist or art teacher, so more often that not, concepts are new and I’m learning something everyday I never knew I would be doing. It’s fun and refreshing to learn how to make everything, however time constraints have caused a little anxiety and frustration at times. I find myself listening intensely to directions so I don’t miss anything, then wondering how I will execute when asked to play around or do things independently, based on limited experience and knowledge. I felt most at ease during the writing projects because writing comes easily to me and always has. It’s definitely been a half-week of stepping outside of my comfort zone and flexing some creative muscles.

  13. April says:

    It’s also hard for me to create and produce on the spot. I like to have time to mull things over, get ideas, let concepts soak in, so spending a few minutes here and there on so many projects has forced me to make quick decisions and move on, not knowing if/when I will ever finish projects. It’s difficult for me to start something, commit to it, then abandon it before I’m ready to pause.

  14. Gail says:

    As I construct my samples of artists’ books, I have found that before I can get ‘creative’ in the process, I first need to just follow the modeling of the instructors and copy what they are doing. I can’t believe I’m saying that! I look forward to incorporating the writing we did yesterday and today into my books, and to inserting a little more of “me” and my vision into the final product (s).

  15. Michelle says:

    Because I am not an artist, I enjoy listening to the instructions and following directions to create a product ; a skill lacking in many if my students. Just the act of listening carefully is an art in itself, which lends to practice in prceciseness and word choice.

    The writing activities, of course, have been my favorite.

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