Today’s morning reflection thinking routine was TNT - Thoughts and Takeaways. True arts integration is not simply art activities tacked onto other academic content, but instead embodies Paolo Freire’s concept of praxis – the integration of theory (thoughts) and practice (takeaways) that catalyze meaningful actions driven by framing concepts, big ideas, intentional strategies, and felt purposes. The TNT thinking protocol foregrounds this quality of praxis in our work together.
In small teacher-to-teacher discussion groups, we shared new ideas we had developed about how we teach (such as attending to narrative plentitude) as well as our new awareness of powerful and useful tools, media, and artistic processes and histories we could engage with within our classrooms (such as using light as an arts medium). This institute actively worked to support teachers as designers of their own innovative, individual, and collective approaches to praxis.
Today, the Four Compass Points warm-up was repeated, but this time focusing on making continuous smooth transitions as we “passed around” and transformed movement gestures.
We were also introduced to the “All Right!” warm-up - which involves individual members of the circle proposing delightful actions (such as “Let’s all JUMP three times”), followed by the entire group responding with an enthusiastic “ALL RIGHT!” These two warm-ups moved us back and forth between shifts in individual leadership and
engaged collective response.
Putting Our Books Together
One of Habla’s key organizing principles is to engage in a series of compelling arts encounters over time that are each given their own playful yet serious attention, but that also intentionally build on each other over time. As the institute develops its collective energy over the course of the separate sessions, the artifacts created by each participant from their individual encounters are gathered together into a “book” that traces and reveals the overarching trajectory of growth across sessions.
Fannie introduced us to various materials that act like “Buddha Boards” – surfaces that we can “paint” with clear water, producing images that appear as if by magic, and that then evaporate. We experimented with our own little “Buddha Boards” (called Magic Paper ) at our tables, and discussed ideas about how this might be useful in our classrooms (including the novel notion that these might make an intriguing platform for classroom brainstorming, with the emergence and layering of ideas echoing the emergence and layering of Magic Paper images).
We also watched a Buddha Board exhibit video and discussed the existence of water resistant clear paints that can create image outlines on sidewalks. These water resistant images only become visible when it rains. Visit https://rain.works/ to learn more.
Revisiting: What is diffusion and what are arts possibilities for understanding it?
Diffusion is a concept that bridges across the content areas of chemistry, physics, biological evolution, cultural anthropology, contagions, social media memes, and any discipline that involves movement from areas of high concentrations to areas of low concentrations. Cynthia spoke to the value of co-planning arts integrated curricular units with content specialists who can co-construct with us integrations that authentically explore both the arts content and the content of the other integrated subject areas.
What are your wishes that you want to protect in this school year?
¿Cuáles son tus deseos y qué quieres proteger este año escolar?
Write on the back of marbled paper.
Listen to music, let your hand follow the sounds of the music played.
Paint your wishes using simple brush strokes, painting with your whole arm, not just your wrists.
Play with scale & repetition.
Paper Boats Tutorial
Tommaso guided us through folding our painted meditations into paper boats whose “cargoes” were our hopes for what we want to protect in this coming school year.
We discussed the Japanese tradition of Toro Nagashi, a ceremony in which paper lanterns are set afloat on rivers at locations across Japan in mid-August, when the spirits of deceased ancestors are believed to return to their hometowns. Hiroshima's Toro Nagashi was begun in 1947 as a consolation to the souls of the millions of Japanese citizens who perished during World War II.
The paper lanterns are also considered the embodiment of prayers for peace.
Story Exhibition Preparation
Assidere - Rethinking Assessment
“Assessment” tasks are typically experienced as unpleasant obligations to pass judgements on student work and on our students themselves. But it is useful to consider the origin of the word itself, which comes from the french “assidere” - which means “to sit beside.”
We considered how we could best sit beside each other in this institute, and rather than judging each others’ works after they were finished (in a summative assessment
based on external criteria), we chose to work together to set our own criteria for guiding us in the creation of meaningful and beautiful work as part of planning and formative reflection. In our work groups, we asked and discussed the Focus Question: “What makes an effective performance?”, and then entered our possible criteria, work group by work group, in a collective Google Doc ideation notebook.
Click on the image to view the full document.
Engaging in collective thinking to solve a particular problem by developing innovative solutions.
Kurt shared how Habla organizes all its classes and institutes, using a Design Thinking approach:
Essential Questions / Concepts
What do we want to protect?
How can individual and collective voices and actions help protect our world?
What are your wishes and what do you hope to protect in this school year?
Texts We Are Water Protectors Book by Carole Lindstrom No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History Book by Lindsay H. Metcalf The Negro Speaks of Rivers Poem by Langston Hughes A Different Pond Book by Bao Phi
Artistic and Written Products
Water Drumming (video), Bio poems and portraits, our stories, floating boats.
The Sound of Water
a water sound workshop with Darío Bernal Villegas, María del Mar PatrónVázquez, and Kurt Wootton
With Dario’s guidance, we recreated the sounds of “water bodies” with our voices and our bodies, such as imitating the sound of rain by rubbing our hands together and snapping our fingers or making the sounds of cracking ice by rolling our fingers against our hands.
He divided us up into different groups to produce the range of these water sounds and then conducted a group performance by orchestrating us through variations in volume, tempo, and duration into a collective musical composition.
Bio Poem in Many Voices
We broke into groups of 6 or 7, shared our bio poems, and wove them together into a twelve-line collective poem.
Water Play & Music Exploration
Dario shared with us a short documentary video of water drumming (clapping against water in a rhythmic pattern) as a culturally embedded practice.
After that, we explored how we could use water as a sound producing instrument through such practices as:
- Creating “glissandos” by tapping against glass bowls and pot lids partially submerged in water
- Blowing across the openings of water filled bottles
- Blowing bubbles into water through tubes
- Tapping on glasses filled with different amounts of water
- Clapping against water surfaces
- Pouring water
Song: 9:50 - 10:53 / Explanation: 6:50 - 19:13
Our Poems As Water Music
We moved outside to where enough plastic kiddie pools had been set up filled with water, so that each of our poetic work groups had their own little body of water to use as a musical instrument to accompany their spoken word performances. We selected a member of each of our groups to be our poems’ narrators, and then designed and rehearsed our water soundscapes to accompany our spoken words.
If you decide to try this with your own students, be sure to have them bring a change of clothes, because they are sure to get delightfully soaked with splashing water as they rehearse and perform.
Dario demonstrated how to play with water to produce various musical effects.
Capturing Our Performances
Once we were sufficiently rehearsed, we performed our poetic dialogues with water for each other, recording each performance.