Narrative Story  – Romantic Understanding – GRAFFITI Unit

My first attempt at coming up with a narrative for my units. I think I used it before, but the difference is that I am trying to use cognitive tools and be aware of what I am learning about in class. I need to continue with adding information and connections to how the story ties in to these tools, but also see how I can twist and intertwine my emotional connection to the subject.

You should read more about the cognitive tools “revolt and idealism”–right up the “romantic” alley.  So here we see the emotional significance, I think, of  art as an expression against the conventional or the “norm” and how that can take off.  The power of ingenuity and voice/vision?

Revolt an Idealism works very well. However, the strange part about using this understanding is I was thinking of Mythic Understanding. Many of the tools under Mythic understanding relate very well to this topic and it seems to be easier for me to think of how it ties in to this subject. My challenge is that is easier for me and the romantic requires deeper thinking for me, and requires me to learn more about my subject.

Great start.  I encourage you to expand in your own words just what the emotional significance piece is so that you can keep weaving it into the 9 methods you will teach about in this unit.

The emotional significance could also be the significance it has in the community around the school and the community. it can also have ties to bringing a community back from a problem like the loss of a friend, or someone that had an impact in that community. Example would be a skateboarder youth that died or a community trying to engage troubled youth.

Patrick Narrative-1

Group lesson  – Romantic Understanding – POWER

Tiffany, Kelly and Myself

Together we are taught a lesson on  for Grade 5 Science –  Simple Machines. We are telling a story that is formed around The Romantic Understanding, and is using the emotion of “Power”. I walk the class through a demonstration on how to build a catapult out of popsicle sticks, elastic bands and a plastic spoon. We did this quickly and still had time to play. In the debrief we talked about what understanding we were using and listed off some of the cognitive tools we hit on in this lesson. Looking back now I can see some things I would like to change that would make the lesson be better and more engaging. I also realized that it is difficult to have different teachers teaching the same lesson, and in this situation we tend to break it down into individual tasks that each person does. I think it would have been better if we all did a bit of each. With this method you get a bit of all the teachers personality and the wonder of them as a teacher throughout the entire lesson.


Our feedback:

  • A key to change and power…(for me the idea of a “key” is powerful in and of itself). Heroic quality is power?
  • Activity—sticks, bands, a spoon.—your voice does express engagement, by the way.
  • Love the idea of TINKERING. –Guided building. Super fun. What’s the key? What’s going to happen? Is this for marks?? 😉
  • Catapults!! Catapult as key…might be a good idea to revisit your introductory narrative that creates the mystery/puzzle. What if students did some research to find the actual real-world examples where the catapult is all the wonderful things that you describe in the introductory narrative.

Debrief: the engagement aspect of simple machines…is CATAPULT—because of what quality? Yes, enter POWER. Embedded binary opposite: attack/defend. Humanization: Diagnosis seems like a compelling human story and would be useful to elaborate this slowly with students.  I wonder if you might use the “catapult” also, in other curricular areas, metaphorically—what other concepts does this machine represent?

Yescollecting!—students can collect also the extremes/limits related to this. They can collect some aspect of ALL topics we teach in the curriculum. Identify aspects within the topic you are teaching that students can learn exhaustively. Better yet…identify “collections” that can carry over a few units…this opportunity to develop “expertise” is very beneficial to a kid trying to feel comfortable in a seemingly endless and overwhelming world.




Art Activity – July 13, 2015

Make a square mosaic tile that can be made in to a group piece. a great beginning of the year activity and can be extended by making the instructions into a story, or using circles or even images. Make your own, fold it in to 1/4’s and make squares that touch all quadrants. do this in paint, just lines. After the paint is dry, colour in with oil pastels. Cut all quadrants out. Keep one and trade 3 others with other classmates. Glue all pieces on backing piece of paper in any order. Put tile on floor with other classmates pieces and make one complete panel.


Learning Capacities

  • Foster a rich understanding of how emotional and imaginative engagement supports learning and teaching and contributes to meaning-making.
  • Develop a disposition of inquiry and critical reflection to understand and develop your practice.
  • Explore, develop, and implement curriculum, instruction and assessment practices and frameworks that support the learning of all students.
  • Investigate educational theories and philosophies to inform your practice.
  • Extend and integrate imaginative pedagogical practices into classrooms to maximize student learning.
  • Promote a learning environment that fosters respect for and awareness of imagination’s role in learning for all students.

This graphic has helped me understand how Imaginative Education works.

A.Cant 2014 Layers
A.Cant 2014 Layers



Teacher as a Researcher

Make a connection with some aspect of the following quote…

“Teacher research enables me to investigate one of my wonderings in a deliberate fashion. I use the tools of a researcher to investigate my own environment. Teacher research provides the impetus for teachers to find various solutions to their own questions. By definition then, it is relevant inquiry.” (Borst, 1999)

The researcher process helps me stay on track with my projects. It allows me to stay curious and explore. Wonderings usually pull me in an art direction, and the tools I gained from doing art. The methods I do in my art practice follow me to teaching and I like to pass on this to my students. I can do this by modeling how I do it.

Today I learned that our good open ended questions are more than just a yes or no, and they often spur  more questions. The answer is not easily found and is a perpetual merry-go round of questions.


“Teacher research is a method of gaining insight from hindsight. It is a way of formalizing the questioning and reflecting we, as teachers, engage in every day in attempt to improve student learning.” (Brown, 1999)

This quote makes me think of my own teaching and how I learn from reflecting so I can change, and make the lessons better. This allows for me ask more questions to make the reflection deeper,  and pass on what I have learned on to my students.

Photo Project

We were sent out to find a picture to show how we were feeling about the semester so far. This is what I came up with.


 5 min. Lesson on my Passion


Everyday I would walk into my class and draw on the whiteboard for the start of the day.
My drawing would greet the students as I did and became a mystery of what would appear each day.

I would start to get request for drawings and I would just say not yet but soon. On a students birthday in my class I would draw them something that I had learned about them so far.  I also started to draw a small cake by the date on front board.

I did this for the entire year. I was laid off and went to a new school thinking I would do this again, but things changed and I became a priority teacher on call. I was called to a k-1 class and all I had done was upper primary and intermediate. I was way out of my element and comfort zone.

Things were not going well. I could not get the hang of calendar and centres were a nightmare. The students were calm when I read to them. So I thought I would try directed drawing.

I started by telling them that we were drawing but I would not tell them what I setup the technology (projector, apple tv, and my iPad) I turned off the lights. I handed out the paper and as I did I told the students to take out a felt. If they did not have one I had a basket of them that they could pick one.  Once they settled I explained that we were drawing with felts and the would not know what we were drawing until we finished, they could guess but I would not let them know until the end. The reason we are drawing with felts was because we need to work with the mistakes we make and no mark is wrong.

The students started and hung on to every word I said. Until they were done. And we had drawn a robot. They were so excited and surprised at what they had drawn they cheered. We pushed our chairs in, turned on the lights, and did a gallery walk so everyone could see what their friends had done. We sat back down and they wanted to do it again, we saved for the next day and we did something a little more difficult. We did this every day for 3 weeks and I had to leave.

Cartoon Lion - Directed Drawing
Cartoon Lion – Directed Drawing


Directed Drawing – Drawing a Cartoon Lion   (4 min)

Cognitive Tools used:

Mythic Understanding
Affective Mental Imagery
Games, Drama, and play
Puzzles and a Sense of Mystery
Rhyme, Rhythm, and Pattern
Story Form

Romantic Understanding
Change of Context