SchoolArts Magazine

March 2015

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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W hen I taught elementary art, I usually had certain materials and supplies on my tables that students could use at any time: boxes of all kinds of scrap paper, wallpaper, fab - rics and trims, glue, hole punches, and regular a nd "fancy" scissors. The projects my students were most likely to get lost in (and lose track of time with) were playful ones that they could embellish and extend as desired. Though I arrived at this approach more intuitively at the time, I now realize how well this fits with the Studio Habit of Mind called Stretch and Explore. T his year, each issue of SchoolArts focuses on one of the eight dispositions of the Studio Habits of Mind, found in Studio Thinking 2: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education (Teachers College Press, 2013). Stretch and Explore may be my favorite. S tretch and Explore is about fostering cre - ativity by playing with possibilities, discovering Visit Follow me on Editor's Letter different approaches, taking risks, not worry- ing about failure or final results, and learning t hrough experimentation. Teachers can actively encourage and challenge students to be willing to try new or different approaches and to play around. The authors of Studio Thinking 2 sug - gest that teachers "strive for tasks that are clear e nough to communicate a direction and open enough to allow infinite solutions." In my own teaching, I thought of that approach as freedom within structure. If you would like to explore these ideas fur- ther, two examples of this playful approach g iven in Studio Thinking 2 include the engaging rules of Sister Corita Kent (Rule 6 is "Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There's only make.") and Oliver Herring's interactive Task Party, which is full of playful assignments. You can explore these concepts at www.corita. org/component/content/article/21-information- in-education/19-corita-kent-art-rules.html and Nancy with the NAEA board of directors at the New Orleans Museum of Art, playfully planning for the 2015 NAEA convention in New Orleans.

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