Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Arts & Student Creativity

The Arts & Student Creativity
by Gregory Schmidt

Since this is the garden month, our first venture into student creativity will fall under the discipline of drawing and design. If you did find yourself a supply of matt board or have some other large-sized medium upon which to draw, color, paint or do three-dimensional montage your students can get started right away.

In most regions around North America, there aren't yet any gardens producing vegetables.  In many areas folks haven't even started plotting out their garden borders. Now is when your students can do that for them on paper or poster board.

There are few things in this world that empower young people to think that they can achieve something more than growing their own veggies or flowers from planting to harvesting. And so, rather than having our first improvisational creativity exercise be something that is abstract, I believe it better to start with something specific and functional.

With a two-dimensional surface facing your child/student they can not only envision what a Garden of Eden would look like, they can physically illustrate it with markers, crayons, paints, chalks, inks or fabric. Fabric ? Yes, the world of three-dimensional design is within their grasp. Right there on the two-dimensional surface (matt board, poster board, gray card stock) they can glue a variety of items from construction paper cut-outs to clay to wood chips or glass and cloth.

Why would they do this?  Because their garden plot will want to jump out off the surface after they've drawn in the boundary lines of what they want to grow and where.

Begin by showing them the basics of architectural drafting with lines that designate a one inch to one foot scale. Then let them do the rest by resourcing a gardening catalogue or 'vegetables' website. And what they will do next is the reward in all this.  They will let you know which plants interest them and which colors they prefer to illustrate that.

Let them think outside of this garden box, also.  If they want to use finger paint and do swirly circles to represent where the strawberries should go, that's fine. You might, though, encourage them to utilize anything spare in the house that could be painted to represent small plants that can be glued in rows.  This can be anything from buttons to old game board pieces. You could even provide them with the covers of seed packets to be glued in place of each garden section.

The objective here is to get them interested in the benefits of fresh produce. It wouldn't hurt, either, to inform them that millions of people eventually come around to the fulfilling hobby of gardening. Let alone the fact that there are hundreds of people making a living illustrating plants and yard landscaping.

Want to bring this to an in-house reality, even if you don't have an area that anyone in the family would have time to garden?  Then suggest to your younger ones that they design a window box or simply illustrate a few plants that could be started in window pots.

Remember the wonderment of that corn you grew in your third grade school windows? You can have your children take a much more involving approach to this accomplishment by decision making of their own: which vegetables they like, which illustrative colors they choose, what design mediums they use, how inventive they get with their search for three-dimensional items.

If you could fulfill this project and follow it all the way from design to illustration to actual garden plotting to harvest, then you will have taken your student into a very mature world of food and health.


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