Arts Education, Language Arts
Language Arts, Arts, and Modern Languages
Taking the Ordinary and Making it Extraordinary
If we are open to the moment, what new meaning can be found in our everyday experience?
Strategies and Approaches:
Socratic Questioning, informal assessment, prompting, experiential learning, critical thinking, written work, information gathering.
Background for Students:
French-Canadian artist Michel Goulet’s work Echoes is comprised of stainless steel chair forms inscripted with phrases which reflect aphorisms of everyday emotions and thoughts that anyone can relate to. The chairs are playful and interactive, with pieces of text that create an environment that invites interaction and fosters contemplation.
Through discussion, ensure students have an understanding of ‘found poetry.’ Encourage them to think about practicing mindfulness in their observations.
Paper and pencil
15-20 mins, Open/Reflect: Welcoming Multiple Interpretations
- Students are encouraged to disengage from their recent experience and their busy surroundings to practice mindfulness.
- Direct students to ‘mindfully’ (quietly/individually) explore the piece and develop their own interpretation. More information on mindfulness for the classroom can be found here.
- Direct each student to share their interpretation of the piece without judgement.
- Connect students’ individual interpretations to the background information provided above.
30 mins, Challenge: Found Poetry
- Start by dividing students into groups of 3-4.
- Have each student pick out a word or a favourite phrase from Echoes that can be linked together to form a meaningful thought. Students work in groups to link words/phrases and create a simple poem.
- Have students share their poems and the process.
- Then have students individually move into their wider environment creating a new poem with words and phrases they find.
Additional Suggested Piece: Have students think about an object utilized in their daily lives and write a Eulogy in appreciation of its qualities. The dramatic effects of living without this object can be heightened by a student’s thoughts and attachments.
Debrief: Ask students to consider the following: how can ordinary objects be transformed into extraordinary devices, provided some thoughtful consideration? What would be the impact of losing simple ordinary things in our life?