Making Meaning with Kids….


On Wednesday, February 20, Eric Maisel will be stopping by this blog, with an interview on his new book, The Van Gogh Blues. I really want to look at the issue of making meaning for adolescents. I am having a terrible time encouraging kids to want to learn. Maybe Eric will have some insights.

I am working on making my own meaning with the kids in art. I prepared a rather long presentation for the kids, with lots of websites on mandalas. The Mandala Project is quite involved, and there are some great examples of individual mandalas that have been created and added to the site. take some time to look through the site. The kids did not, on the whole, know anything about labyrinths, so that was another interested segue.

We also looked at the Tibetan Healing Mandala made after September 11. The kids were fascinated, and couldn’t believe the mandala was “destroyed” at the end. This led to an interesting discussion about our western perception of “art” and the difference with a work of art that is very temporal. There are hourly pictures of the 2-week project, as well as detailed pictures. The kids were fascinated.

The eighth graders in particular had a very hard time getting going, but once they mastered the compass they were able to get a little more involved, and by the end of the period, most were getting into detail. My seventh graders are doing some great stuff. I actually had some time and I started on one – wanting to use some symmetry. I like where it’s going – would make an interesting quilt – probably need to start some digital work in that area. Hmmmm….

Also, as a way of trying to bring the mandala home to Arizona, I included a link on Navajo sand paintings, which also work with the circle motif. It was a productive two days in art class. I am looking forward to scanning the finished work – last semester it was a very successful project.

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