People have found ways to make art during the most trying periods of time in our history. Something about creating can help people regulate themselves or better process the world around them. Most creators have had to figure out a way to keep producing their work during the pandemic, whether it was finding a place to do their craft or people to collaborate with.
This resource focuses on helping students nurture their art practice through developing a consistent schedule. Many students may have found that they have less time to devote to their craft as school buildings reopen and they are able to safely see their friends again. The lesson will focus on inviting students to pay attention to when they have the most artistic energy throughout the day and setting time aside each week to get creative.
COMMUNITY CONNECTION ICEBREAKER
What is something that you’ve created during the pandemic that makes you proud? What makes you proud of this creation? Give students a minute to think about their answer to these questions. Then, invite students to share as a class, in small groups, or in pairs.
ACTIVITY 1: READ CAN’T FIND THE RIGHT NOTES: PLAYING PIANO IN A PANDEMIC
Part 1: Give students 5 - 10 minutes to read Can’t Find the Right Notes: Playing Piano In A Pandemic
Part 2: Discuss as a class, in small groups, or pairs:
- How did you find time to be creative during the pandemic?
- Did the pandemic make your creative pursuits harder or easier?
- In what ways did the pandemic prompt you to be creative in new ways?
ACTIVITY 2: DISCOVER YOUR CREATIVE SCHEDULE
Part 1: Record energy levels and time with an Energy Pattern Tracker.
Invite students to record how they are feeling throughout the day over a week’s time using this Energy Pattern Tracker. Students will fill in their energy level on a scale from 1 - 10 (1 being low and ten being high) and a few notes about their mood such as “energetic”, “drowsy”, and “unmotivated.”
Students should note the times that they wake up in the morning, how they feel, and how their energy changes as the day goes on. Do they wake up feeling energized and get tired after lunch? Or are they tired in the day and get a surge of energy at night? Encourage students to note specifically when they feel like creating.
What do the conditions have to be for them to feel like creating? Do they have a routine that helps them get started? Assure students that there is no “right way” to do this activity. It’s meant to reveal how their own individual energy changes throughout the day.
Part 2: Review notes.
At the end of the week, have students look over their notes. Students will answer the following questions, think about their individual answers and jot them down on a piece of paper. Then, pair students up to talk to a peer about their answers
- Did you notice trends or consistencies?
- Did anything surprise you about the trends that you found?
- Did you notice if anything affects when they feel more energized? (food, friendships, alone time)
Part 3: Map out creative calendars.
Using the information from their calendars, students will map out what their ideal times for creative activities are, paying special attention to when they are best able to devote time to their creative pursuits. For example, a student may notice that they’re best able to do art when things around them are quiet, so maybe the best time for them to create is when they are dropped off at school early or when their siblings haven’t gotten home yet. Maybe another student creates better on a full stomach and they need to block out time after dinner.
Students are prompted to present their creative calendar schedules in a shareable format. For example, they might note them as a layer on a Google calendar, make and complete a copy of the Energy Pattern Tracker, create their own spreadsheets with times, or create a graphic representation by drawing or using a tool like Jamboard.
OPTIONAL ADDITIONAL ACTIVITY: ADDITIONAL WRITING
To foster additional writing, students can compose a short reflection on their creative pursuits and what they have learned about their creative rhythms.
DEBRIEF AS A CLASS
- How did it feel to do this activity?
- Do you think that this calendar will be useful for you? Why or why not?
- What features or improvements would you suggest to make your calendar a better fit for you?
- Are you likely to do something like this again? Why or why not?
*Optional extended debrief: students may want to pair up with an accountability buddy who they can talk to about how their schedule is working for them. In a week, accountability buddies can talk for 10 minutes about whether anything needs to change in their creative calendars.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.5 (if digital tools are centered in the compositions)
INVITATION FOR ACTION & CONNECTION
Teachers, are you excited about the work your students created? As always, if your students love what they created please invite them to join YR Media’s community and pitch their pieces to our editors. And teachers, sign up here to receive email updates when new curriculum tools are published and become a member of our growing teacher network!