Teachers Connect
Jul 21, 2016


There are many concepts that could be taught through a single lesson from Art, Books, & Creativity. As you think about your final project and proposed lesson key idea or concept, what, specifically, do you want your students to learn through the lesson?

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.)

Jul 19, 2016


Challenges to beliefs, attitudes, or long held assumptions may be part of the Visual Thinking Strategies learning experience.   Will you have to make changes in your teaching style? How might the VTS approach provide experiences that may transform student attitudes toward their work in the classroom?

Jul 18, 2016


Reflect on your experience today. What are two connections between what you already know and what you learned today? (Remember, this is a way to explore and better understand what you are learning and allows other participants to gain knowledge through your comments. During the week, your blog entries help staff know what needs clarification or further explanation.)

Jul 16, 2015

Institute 2: Evaluation as Growth

Think about how you will help students evaluate their finished work.  What are some ways you can help students see critique as a means of growth in a subject area?

Jul 16, 2015

Institute 1: Final Project & Productive Questions

Productive questions get students to look beneath the surface of ideas. It requires moving away from assumptions and familiar thoughts, and staying with the questions as one works to comprehend and then act on them. You might ask students, “what is the purpose of your writing” (beyond a required assignment). And, if this particular ideas is the purpose of my writing, then how does my “vessel” in the form of a book serve the purpose of the writing, or vice versa? What are the ways the elements of art could be varied to enhance the final project? Of course, the questions might be asked in a more simple manner, but in asking the questions, and asking students to stay with the questions, the art project then becomes a true integration of writing and art as well as of critical thinking – three goals of this curriculum.

How can you carve out time in the busy school schedule to ask similar questions and then give time for students to think about them in relationship to their projects?

Jul 15, 2015

Institute 1: Artist/Writer Challenge

Making a difference through a chosen medium – be it art making, story telling dancing, or singing, is a creator’s challenge.

As teachers we model a variety of possibilities to help students’ imaginations open to the what might be done within the assigned work. In addition to helping students imagine possibilities through multiple examples, it is also our job to help them envision the process for the work. During this week you will be collecting samples of artists’ books, materials, and tools students can use to help them with their creative challenge. What are some of the characteristics of your process in creating these samples and how will that information help your students in their creative assignments?

Jul 15, 2015

Institute 2: Risk Taking

How will you encourage students to take risks and address errors in their work?  What strategies can you help them develop so they don’t continually “start over?”

Jul 14, 2015

Institute 1: Paraphrasing

Bertram Russell said something like, “in all things it’s healthy now and then to hang a question mark on what we have long taken for granted.”

When a group of special education students were taken to the Albuquerque Museum for the final field trip during the research phase of Art, Books, and Creativity, they were escorted by a docent who told them “facts” about a particular painting.  He was sure he knew everything there was to know about the piece of art. The students sat in stony silence.  They had spent the year using the VTS questions and this was not the way they looked at art.   I intervened in the docent’s presentation, asking the students the first VTS question.   They studied the painting and then eagerly raised hands to comment. One by one they spoke, listened to their peers observations, and played off each other in a symphony of thoughts and evidence. The docent was astonished that this group of special needs children could discover elements in the painting he had never noticed in all his years of giving tours. Through VTS questioning and paraphrasing, the teacher of this class had honed these students’ observational skills, which would serve them for years to come.

Although the use of paraphrasing may present a challenge initially, what do you believe will be gained in your classroom or setting by using these questions? What do you think will be some personal challenges in using paraphrasing?


Jul 14, 2015

Institute 2: Advancing the Envisioning Process

Think back to working on the folded secrets 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 him/herself and you, the teacher.  What kinds of questions can you ask to help students envision their project before beginning it and developing “a habit”?  During its execution?

Jul 13, 2015

Institute 1: Perseverance

The first day of Art, Books & Creativity Institute is often overwhelming – new ideas, time restraints, having to continue even when you are tired.  But these are the very restraints students face everyday in the classroom.  What are some ways you coped with restraints today and how can you translate that perseverance or persistence to your students?  How might you  help students keep their focus and stay on task?

Jul 13, 2015

Institute 2: Proposed Lesson Concept

As you think about your proposed lesson concept, what, specifically, do you want your students to learn through this lesson?  While there are many concepts that can be taught through a lesson, what is one on which you will concentrate?  What challenges do you anticipate?

Jul 1, 2015

Thinking Ahead – ABC Institute One

Visit the Art, Books, & Creativity website (artbookscreativity.org), click on “resources” at the top right of the page and then scroll down to Artists’ Books. Click on several of the woman book artists listed there to see examples of their work.

What are four characteristics you notice about the construction, form or materials of the artists’ books?

Pick one form you see and think of a style of writing (narrative, poetry, biography, etc.) that might be suitable for the form of the book. Give one reason why.

Jul 1, 2015

Thinking Ahead – Advanced Institute

During the Art, Books, and Creativity course you learned how to construct basic book forms. (accordion, flag pocket accordion, window accordion, self-portrait, rubber band journal) Can you expand on one of those forms and ask yourself  “what if I were to change it in some way?”  “How might I do that?”  Let go of assumptions and past thoughts and stick with the questions.  How might you develop a step-by-step questioning progression for your students as they create their own artists’ books?

Jul 16, 2014

Thoughts on Final Project

After the Summer Institute, some teachers have returned to the classroom and believed they needed to cover all elements and aspects of the Art Books, & Creativity curriculum.  A teacher who was using the curriculum for a second year wrote this:

Last year I was just “trying to get through the lessons” because I thought I had to.  My tunnel books came out much better this year because I have slowed down and focused on teaching some of the elements in each lesson more thoroughly rather than covering everything.

As you think about your proposed lesson concept what, specifically, do you want your students to learn through this lesson?  While there are many concepts that could be taught through a lesson what is one on which you will concentrate?  What challenges do you anticipate?