Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Beginning the school year - developing a 'growth mindset' through a simple portrait( Carol Dweck)

With strategies we can all draw

Encouraging a 'growth mind-set'

What are your students' views about their artistic ability?

Do they believe that only some students are born with the ability to draw or that everyone is  an artist?

A must read for every teacher
Carol Dweck writes about two basic mind-sets. Some students develop a 'fixed' mind-set of any ability ( either can or can't do something) while others develop a 'growth' mind-set ( anyone can get better through effort, perseverance and by given appropriate strategies).

A growth mind-set can be taught - every student can become 'can do' student in any area of learning

Undertaking simple portrait activity will illustrate the importance of a 'growth' mind-set - but the lessons learnt can be applied to all areas of learning.

How many students think they are artists? ( Before the age of 7 probably all of them but from 7 students start to compare themselves.)

Ask students on a small piece of paper to draw a face with their biro or pencil. Give no instructions.  Most will complete the task quickly often with using cliché images).

Now repeat the task giving guided instruction deliberately slowing the pace and encouraging observational skills. Don't allow any rubbing out - just work around mistakes. Guided instruction is often called 'scaffolding' and included modelling, demonstrating and 'thinking aloud' but always with the aim of encouraging independence and creativity.

1 Look at a face and draw an oval ( a maths concept) the size of a hen's egg.
2 Look at a face - see the eyes are about half way up the oval. Look at someone's eyes and draw carefully.
3 Say noses are hard but look closely and do your best. Feel the cartilage in your nose ( what animal is made up of cartilage ? - sharks)
4 Draw mouth - add a line for the top lip and the lower. Note the groove from nose to mouth. Add smile lines from nose around mouth.
5 Look around at people's hair and draw lines to represent hair. This could cover the ears!
6 Add a neck and shoulders( note that there is room for  an extra heads on each shoulder). Complete by drawing in collars, buttons and patterns on clothes..

The aim is to achieve a diversity of portraits so don't worry if all the advice isn't taken!

You could display before and after drawing or extend by enlarging and colouring in.

Portraits could be displayed with heading 'We are all different' . You could add 'We can all be artists if we  look hard, have 'know how' and take our time!'

A small poem could be added to the display.

Start with your first name.
Next line three adjectives to describe yourself
Then a line about what you like
Another about what they worry about or fear
A line about what they hope for in the future.
Finally their last name.

Note: The strategy learnt in the portrait activity can be used to draw historical portraits  or to represent various emotions.

Beginning of school year blog

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