The current iteration of Innovative Arts is going really, really well. Our mindset topics are hitting home and the ‘creative class culture’ is close to being alive. For the students who can manage all of the concepts and ideas I am throwing at them, it’s going great.
That doesn’t include all of my students, however. Some of my students are trying to learn too many things at once – how to utilize our materials, execute a creative project, and new methods for designing and engineering. We could easily do a ‘cookie cutter project’, but that is how we got to this point. These ‘recipe’ assignments pervade our current system and don’t teach all that much. Executing your own idea is critical to creativity, so it is non-negotiable to me. Because autonomy skills Too many students are looking for a familiar, quick, easy, fun project that can be finished ASAP.
I’m starting to think that the first year of Innovative Arts needs to be a deep dive into the basics. This will benefit all students – the best do the basics better. We can do so much more in 6th -8th grades, once they are established and practiced. So instead of creative, open ended projects in the 5th grade (even though we worked up to them and practiced every skill), I need to be even more intentional and get them great at the beginning of our time together. Here is what I am thinking.
Topics for 5th Grade Innovative Arts Students
Starting with all six creator types, getting a good working understanding of what an ‘engineer, designer, entrepreneur, digital creator, wordsmith, and coder’ really is about
Learn 3D design for expressing creativity (TinkerCAD) and using the class 3d printers
Learn the basics of code for many uses (Scratch)
Using a makerspace – quickly cutting cardboard, making strong structures, cardboard flaps and gussets, adding textures, cutting cardboard circles, rigid wire as marble tracks, and more general creation
Speed creating from a template
Speed creating from a lottery of concepts
Speed brainstorming and creativity excercises
Construction paper design techniques
The basics of podcasting, robotics, game design, and video creation. These will be simple introductory activities, but I have found that there are students who will devote all four years after a quick introduction and permission to use youtube tutorials.
Overall, I’m excited to see what these students can do after they get through all of this. As 6th graders, they’ll be creating maniacs!