At Sekolah Ciputra, we consider the Visual Arts room not only a place for students to create artwork; instead we consider it more as a place for freedom of expression, for exploring possibilities, for challenging creativity and for promoting inquiry. The Visual Arts teacher is not the single authority in this space. We offer students opportunities to build the Visual Arts room together with the teacher. We use the learning opportunities offered under the transdisciplinary theme “How We organize ourselves” to engage students collectively in realizing this vision of a shared creative space. Below are the details of the unit:
A supportive work environment is essential to the development of our creativity
Key concepts: Function, Responsibility and Reflection
Related concepts: organization, work environment, creativity, aesthetic, design,
Lines of Inquiry
- Considerations when working in a Visual Arts room
- How the Visual Arts room supports the development of our creativity
- Maintaining a supportive Visual Arts room environment
Summative assessment task(s):
Students work in groups to design a safe and comfortable Visual Arts room to be used by the entire school community. This room should be organized with clear procedures and agreements created by all users (teachers and students). Students need to present their ideas for management, organization and design of the Visual Arts room to teachers and peers. The chosen ideas are accepted and applied in the Visual Arts room for use by everyone.
Once the idea is adopted, it is applied throughout the year. This has helped to build a greater sense of shared ownership of this creative space, with students actively taking responsibility for maintaining the space.
In addition to engaging students in designing and maintaining the Visual Arts room, here are some tips on creating an environment of inquiry that I gathered during my first year as a Visual Arts teacher:
- Materials and equipment should be easily accessible by students. When there are varied items available for them to use independently, then you may expect more from students in terms of creativity and inquiry, especially when exploring the use of these tools and materials.
- Make the thinking visible. Just like in other inquiry classrooms, you need to involve students in thinking and creative processes. More importantly this needs to be visible in the classroom. Use thinking routines such as “I see…I Think…I Wonder” which fits well with “responding to art” activities.
- Display provoking questions, along with samples of Art work. These questions provoke students to think about their responses to art work and to take inspiration from the samples. The questions should be conceptual and related to the UOI.
- Involve students in responding to Art. Encourage students to express their thoughts and opinions as this might lead to further inquiry questions. At the same time, students are learning about the techniques and elements of Visual Arts.
- Display lots of provoking images and artwork. These are great primary resources for allowing students to tune in to various art concepts and can also be a source of inspiration.
- Provide a variety of books about art. There are books available for students to use both for inspiration and for learning about technique.
Those are just a small sample of ideas and tips that could hopefully be useful for your school’s Visual Arts room or maybe for your classroom.
Yan Yulius – PYP Coordinator at Sekolah Ciputra, Surabaya, Indonesia