Who couldn’t currently use a little relief in the form of art? What about kids creating art together while skillfully being led by a classmate? I don’t need to tell you that there is a lot happening in the world today. We are living in unprecedented times and it is easy to get lost in a haze of anxiety and stress, grown ups and children alike. So much of how we teach currently, as dictated by COVID, requires teacher led time, much more than we have done or would like. We are all profoundly feeling the “differences” and looking for and cherishing those moments of “same-same.” As a teacher I am trying to find ways to create learning and joy.
One of our students, Malik, has a deep appreciation for famous painter and host of The Joy of Painting, Bob Ross. I spoke with Malik about possibly leading a class on painting one day. After some deliberation and careful planning, we borrowed some supplies from Iku and set to work.
We started with a clip of Bob Ross in action, per Malik’s plan. Then we looked at some of Bob Ross’s quotes about “happy accidents” which fits in nicely with our growth mindset. “Gotta have opposites, light and dark and dark and light, in painting. It’s like in life. Gotta have a little sadness once in a while so you know when the good times come.” This quote led to a discussion about COVID and how it has impacted us at school and at home.
I stood at the back of the classroom, evening having a back of the classroom is new for FSS, and I had “teacher tears” watching the quiet but confident instruction and seeing the engagement level of the rest of the class. Each student was able to access and connect with their own learning in their own way.
At the end of the lesson, students had the opportunity to convey their feelings and feedback:
I really liked how much you put into it.
I liked how they all came out different.
I am proud of how mine came out.
I liked how you shared what’s special to you.
I loved what you drew.
I liked mine and all of them too.
I liked how you just made it up.
It looks very neat and real looking.
I liked the way you let everyone do their own thing.
This entire year is a lesson for us all to be flexible and rethink what we thought we knew about how to do things.
“Look around. Look at what we have. Beauty is everywhere – you only have to look to see it.”