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Artful Tools
Artful Tools Overview
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Artful Tools are planning strategies and reflective protocols that learners can use in their practice of artist, teacher, student. These tools help practitioners:

perceive deeply

think critically

make meaning

 

Artful Tools are Protocols

Many of the Artful Tools are reflective protocols—facilitated conversations following agreed upon guidelines.

Protocols allow us to:
–build the skills and culture necessary for collaborative work
–create an environment for respectful dialogue
–ensure everyone present has a chance to contribute
–make the most of our time
–hold in-depth, insightful conversations about teaching and learning

Artful Tools Connect to Standards
Another way to frame these artful practices is to consider the expectations for learning in the arts for K-12 students. In addtion to learning the foundations of any given arts discipline, Minnesota arts educators have identified three other major strands for learning in the arts: Create/Make, Present/Perform, and Respond/Critique. The Minnesota Arts Standards draw on the work of arts educators at the national level. Artful tools are a mechanism for facilitating the kind of teaching and learning that the standards call us to practice.

In particular the protocols shine a spotlight on the arts standards by revealing two essential cognitive activities—perception and reflection. Artful practitioners are asked to notice how their perceptions change when they take a descriptive stance and intentionally hold off judgment. Do they stay open to the experience longer, and thereby perceive more deeply or keenly? 

Regularly using Artful Tools allows teachers, artists, and students to describe without judgment, to see beyond the visible, and to pay close attention to written, visual and audible contexts. Mindful practice of the act of perception, they discover, can lead to higher quality works of creation and performance and more thoughtful responses to art.

Artful tools also shine a light on the process of reflection itself, which is inherent in the artist’s way of working, and, like keen perception, is essential and teachable.