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Changing up curriculum .... Sketchbooks, Visual Journals and Process Journals

So as a curriculum leader, I think about curriculum writing, unit structure, lesson plans and CHANGE (a good deal of the time.) Down side is that as an administrator it's not very often I get to see the implementation of the curriculum I'm leading..... I see snapshots when I'm in classrooms but it's just not the same as being THE teacher.

All of this to say, I've been working on a project since the spring to support our secondary teachers and more importantly their students dive deeper into inquiry and the creative process. I'm a believer in visual journaling and as a former Art I/9th grader teacher I intentionally don't call them sketchbooks. Sketchbooks imply sketching and drawing only, however, for many young artists, students that are there because it's a credit or it's where the counselor put them.......sketching and drawing can be intimidating. This "book " needs to be a safe place to capture notes, ideas, thumbnail sketches, explore various mediums, explore various artists and ponder on questions; therefore not just a sketchbook.

As I was keeping up with the Advanced Placement (AP) Studio guidelines changing and having been International Baccalaureate (IB) trained, I had the sense that we needed to up our game with the visual journal in regards to our curriculum.

Enter ------ PROCESS JOURNALS------- In early spring I started a prototype as I worked through a small series of paintings.

PROCESS JOURNAL - A journal for personal exploration of an idea or ideas to develop and inform creative decisions and build creative confidence.

My motivation for the students to explore and develop a process journal:

Inquiry - What’s the WHY?

  • Artistic Goals

  • Artistic Influences

  • Personal Memories/Experiences

  • Artistic Mentors

  • Process- Developing & Documenting

  • Outcomes- Documentation & Discovery

  • Reflection

My motivation to create my own Process Journal:

  • Curriculum leadership

  • Shifting thinking for art educators from just teaching skills into teaching students to explore like an artist.

  • Critical Thinking & Technique --- Process & Product

  • Aligning new AP Studio guidelines

  • Creating new understanding for myself

When considering changes or new ideas an educator and/or a creative, we always need to ask ourselves the why and the how?

  • Why do my students need a process journal?

  • How do my students’ interact with and understand the creative process?

  • If I’m going to ask my students to ask lots of questions, how can I model this?

Here are a few more questions you can start with..............

  • Georgia O'Keeffe said - "I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way." In what ways do I allow students to express their learning in non-traditional ways?

  • Dr. Seuss said - "Think and Wonder ..... Wonder and Think" How do I encourage students to wonder and think about the creative process?

  • Dr. Seuss also said - "Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple." The questions can be more important than the answers so, how do I encourage students to document their questions?

  • Georgia O'keeffe said -"The days you work are the best days." How do we encourage our students to WORK through the challenges inherent in the creative process and document it (the good stuff and the bad stuff)?

I have a long way to go with my personal process journal but I believe that if you want others and especially our students to take a risk that we have to model it.

Here are a few links to photos of artistic inspiration, visual journal inspiration (my old journal pages inspire new art) and process photos of one of the six paintings that I've been working though with the the use of this journal.

I've also been working on a few documents that teachers could use to help students organize their creative process to be used inside their journals.

Hopefully there aren't any typos and if there are please let me know! Thanks to @renee_positive_space from my instagram post for the catch on one of them!

Would love to know your thoughts and how you plan to use any of the thoughts, ideas or examples I've shared!

Wishing you LOVE & CREATIVITY,

Laura Grundler



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