Week 4 LIVE Class Highlights: Literature as a Performing Art

8 02 2011

MC Lars rocked the class with his funky “nerd core” rendition of Poe’s “The Raven.”

Talk about a Reader Response and Multiple Intelligences mash-up! For certain, Poe never thought his poetry would inspire this kind of performance!

Rosenblatt described the reading of literature as a “performing art” —

“As the reader submits himself to the guidance of the text, he must engage in a most demanding kind of activity. Out of his past experience, he must. select appropriate responses to the individual words, he must sense their interplay upon one another, he must respond to clues of tone and attitude and movement. He must focus his attention on what he is structuring through these means. He must try to see it as an organized whole, its parts interrelated as fully as the text and his own capacities permit. From sound and rhythm and image and idea is thus an extension, amplification, he forges an experience, a synthesis, that he calls the poem or play or novel (Rosenblatt, Literature as a Performing Art — scroll down to article link).

Reader Response is really every reader’s act of editing the text in a way that creates a personal meaning. In our participatory culture where everyone can edit and produce their own movies and upload them to the world, the editor metaphor takes on a new significance. We are the editors of our own lives!

After a review of Pink’s six creative elements, we discussed Miedema’s “slow reading” theory and the need for deep, thoughtful reading. Miedema insists that “there is no artifact of this art from: no book, no painting, no sculpture; but like all good art, the art of slow reading exercises our imagination to develop interioirity, our psychological framework” (Miedema, 2009).

Yet artifacts are both a tool of the teacher for understanding a student’s academic development and a cognitive tool for a student that she can use to reflect upon and build on for further growth. Plus students can be proud of the artifacts of their learning if they seem relevant and creative.

The catch is to create assignments (yes, that dreaded word that we all described as “negative” in our poll) that challenge students to work creatively to develop artifacts. So we’re approaching “assignments” now much as a photographer or a journalist who has a great deal of autonomy and relies on his creativity to get the shot/story. Thanks to Digital Storytelling 106, Jim Groom’s awesome open course, for giving me a new appreciation of assignments. Frederik and others interested in photography will appreciate the Daily Shoot assignment — an awesome opportunity to make creativity a daily habit.

ECI 521 alum, Kelly Glover’s excellent Action Learning Project digital report makes a valuable contribution to our exploration of guiding principles for designing creative assignments. Kelly helped her students understand their own unique Multiple Intelligences profile and then gave them the autonomy they needed to design their own response to their choice of reading. Kelly also modeled how valuable feedback from students can be to understand their perspectives on assignments. It’s sad to see that students report that so few teachers provide for Multiple Intelligences in their teaching.

Discussion about what we need to engage in “slow reading” included:

* Journaling or Don Murray’s concept of day books (teacher directed to begin with but hopefully something that can become a creative habit) (Scott, Shannon, and Karen)
* Choice to choose literature that you find compelling, that you love (Micheline: “If I don’t connect, I can’t create.”
* Jen shared her strong study skills and how planning ahead helped her to overcome the slow reading caused by dyslexia.

Finally, we had a chance to take a DS 106 assignment, the 4 Icon Story, and consider how to ratchet up the creativity level.

Example of 4 Icon Story: Name that movie!

a comic strip!

Partners worked with the books, Will Grayson, Will Grayson; The Wager; and Revolver.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson – Frederik and Jen extended the analytical assignment of the 4 Icon Story to a creative, synthesis level art performance of poetry, writing, drama, perhaps song-writing.

The Wager – Maureen and Micheline suggested a dramatic performance or a text-to-self or text-to-text connection.

Revolver – Karen, Scott, and Shannon created an activity that led students to choose an object of personal significance and create their own iconic image along with a short written piece to describe.

Final point about motivation and Pink’s latest work, Drive, and the importance of intrinsic rewards – autonomy, mastery, and meaning. Pink’s synthesis of research into motivation has special significance for those of us trying to teach creativity creatively. Sticks and carrots won’t work but turning kids on to the intrinsic reward of being creative can last a lifetime.

Big plans beginning for the Melinda Awards (Feb. 18, 5:30 to 7 pm ET at the Eva Perry Library in Apex, actually or virtually).

The guiding principles for our Learning Through Literature (and point people) so far include:

Inviting Creative Ways to Respond (Karen)

Adopting the Creative Habit (Frederik)

Engaging Through Social Learning (Maureen & Micheline)

Meeting the Needs of a Diversity of Learners (Linda & Shannon)

Creating shared Understanding Through a Diversity of Perspectives (Jen, Micheline, and Scott)

Offering choice in text and assignments (Micheline)

Archived LIVE Class (coming soon . . .)
For slides — see the LIVE Class Artifacts in the Bookhenge2011 wiki

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