The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Kurt Vonnegut
My goal as a teacher (and an artist) is to always hit the bull’s eye on my figurative target and be successful. When I approach a lesson with creativity, there’s a better chance of success. When I make a lesson meaningful and relevant, the students are engaged and, of course, learn more. Before our recent field trip to the San Diego Zoo, we discussed which animals we wanted to see. “The zoo keeper always knows how many different kinds of animals are in the zoo,” I explained. When we arrived at the zoo, I gave each student a small golf pencil and an “Animal Counting” journal. I instructed them to note in their journal each time they saw a different animal. Here’s where it got fun: some students made “x’s”, some made tally marks and others even drew pictures. (Remember, I didn’t tell them specifically how to keep track of the animals.) Each student was excited about their own tracking method. Then, we expanded the journal entries into a counting lesson. Bull’s eye!
How can you hit the bull’s eye? Where can you increase student engagement through creativity? It doesn’t have to be a big deal. It can be as simple as having students draw a quick sketch of how they think a character in a book is feeling. Any attempt at change is growth. Each attempt gets you closer to the bull’s eye.
(Access to these photographs does not constitute a transfer of copyright or a license for commercial use. The images are for personal use only. No portion of the images can be used without the expressed written permission of Michael B. Stanley, Jr.)