Archive for the ‘spoken word’ Category

Video link:


….I love this video…and him.


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I just wanted to add…because a lot of you commented about my lesson presented in Fieldwork and I wanted to give you all the link from the CNN interview about Chicago’s deadly streets… http://newsroom.blogs.cnn.com/2009/10/05/rapper-nas-open-letter-to-young-warriors-of-chicago/


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“There is no simple, singular definition for Spoken Word. And maybe there shouldn’t be—most independent artists resent being cubby-holed since it puts a crimp in “the experiment”. Most word artists have historically been & currently are rebel artists; often they are marginalized people or social change activists. These artists resent “experts” defining their work and suspect a link to those who would streamline art as a commodity.

For the sake of scholarly study & to secure federal arts funding, however, academia seems to have settled on a definition: Spoken Word is a category of performance art to encompass any new seriously developed genre or traditional form that is primarily word-based & is not exclusively Music, Theatre or Dance but may include collaborations with other non-word-based art genres or works created in collaboration with artists from non-word-based disciplines. (Oh yeah, that really sounds simple.)”- http://www.spokenoak.com/define.html


1.  Start with 3 words (of your choice)… The key is to remind the students that spoken word is written WITH AN INTENTION.

2. List the words 1 at a time, and have your students write down as many words that come to mind when given the word. (List all 3, one at a time)

3. Then take some time to look over all of the brainstormed words and think of a small piece of Spoken word using at least 3 words from their own word bank (also can include the words given)

Example: Education: injust, rights, revolutionary, teachers, knowledge

Love: real, understanding, honest, listen

Reciprocity: equal, rights, listen, understand, tell, take, give

The product:  MY love has to do with understanding MY rights to love and to BE loved.  MY love MUST be reciprocated, NEVER negotiated, NEVER underestimated….FOREVER anticipated.  MY love is my knowledge, which is FOREVER evolving, listening, and growing… -Lulua

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Do you have the body language of a good teacher?  Or is this you?

Good teaching?

Using Drama Skills in the Classroom by James Hanley
Body language

All teachers can use appropriate body language to create the desired atmosphere within their classrooms, for example:
* Exaggerating movements when explaining something to the whole class. This should capture and hold the students’ attention and can be used to emphasize important points.
* Walking towards the person who is talking, even if it is only one or two steps. This can have an incredibly positive effect on individuals, boosting self-esteem by physically demonstrating an interest in what they say.
* Responding by smiling and nodding when a student is talking.
* Keeping eye contact with the student who is talking and showing enthusiasm with facial expressions.
* Walking around the room during a discussion so that the whole class feels involved.
* Avoiding ‘closed’ body language (such as folding arms) and physical signals that can distract from the learning process, for example: constantly checking the time or looking at paperwork that has nothing to do with the lesson.

It is easy to forget that students absorb more information from what they physically see than from what they actually hear. It is also important to remember that nonverbal communication is generally thought to be more‘honest’ than verbal communication; if your body language is positive then students are more likely to trust you.


Students with Disabilities

When you are considering your movement and body language while teaching, remember that not all students have the same needs.  Be aware of all of your students needs.  Can they hear you, see you, and physically access you and the necessary materials for the project?  Are some students more sensitive to sound or motion than others?


Cultural Considerations and Body Language

In North America, for instance, we commonly use our arms and hands to say good-bye, point, count, express excitement, beckon, warn away, threaten, insult etc.  In fact, we learn many subtle variations of each of these gestures and use them situationally.   We use our head to say yes or no, to smile, frown, and wink acknowledgment or flirtation.  Our head and shoulder in combination may shrug to indicate that we do not know something.  While the meaning of some gestures, such as a smile, may be the same throughout the world, the meaning of others may be completely different. (See full article on Hidden Aspects of Communication.)



Also keep in mind that some students may a history of physical abuse.  Be comfortable with your students, but respect their personal space.  Be aware of students’ physical comfort or discomfort with you.



Keep all this info in mind, but don’t let it take away from the fun of being in a room full of young artists. Use this free worksheet to draw the face and body gestures of your Perfect Teaching You.

Teaching and Body Language

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Super Quick History
Western calligraphy has been around since the first century. It was used for official documents, religious manuscripts, and signs; informal cursive styles were used for everyday writing. Some samples of early styles are below.


The Book of Kells is considered the most exquisite work of calligraphy ever made. It is an illuminated manuscript of the four gospels written in a style called Roman Uncial. It was produced during the sixth through ninth centuries in Ireland.


Awesome Chicago Resource
You can visit Chicago’s Newberry Library at 60 W. Walton St. to (gently) flip through their extensive collection of manuscripts written in different styles of calligraphy, including 260 manuscripts from pre-1500. That’s right, you can touch them, just like any other library book! I strongly recommend going—it’s a powerful experience to hold 700-year-old artwork in your hands.

Why Bother with Calligraphy?
Nowadays, few people think calligraphy is a valuable artform to spend time learning because computers, free downloadable fonts, and high-quality printers are so accessible. However, learning calligraphy has many benefits, including:

•    Fonts and printers can’t reproduce the look and feel of handwritten text
•    You can incorporate text in your artwork when printing it out on a computer is not possible or practical
•    You will have a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the origin of the fonts we use today
•    It can improve your handwriting

The Edward Johnston Foundation, named for the artist and teacher who single-handedly revived the popularity of calligraphy in the early 20th century, promotes awareness of calligraphy and its influence on modern-day typefaces.

Calligraphy in the Art Classroom
Calligraphy can be incorporated into lesson plans related to text-based artists such as Jenny Holzer, Christopher Wool, and Nancy Dwyer. However, I wouldn’t recommend teaching calligraphy to an entire class; it takes a great deal of time and dedication to learn, so it would be most suitable for an after-school art club or community art center where all the participating students are eager to learn it.

Calligraphy would be perfect for projects that involve the combination of poetry and artwork. Tim Botts’s works serve as great examples:



And then there’s Calligraffiti, an artform invented by contemporary Dutch artist Niels Meulman (who goes by “Shoe”).


Want to Learn Calligraphy?
The Chicago Calligraphy Collective has a gallery, list of local calligraphers, and workshop/event schedule. They don’t have any beginner classes right now, but these places do:

Want to Buy Stuff?
Stores like Blick and Utrecht carry some useful calligraphy supplies, but I get almost everything I need from Paper & Ink Arts. They sell more than just calligraphy supplies—take a look at their entire catalog. If I need ink ASAP, I go to Flax Art & Frame on Adams & Wabash, which carries the best ink ever, Pelikan 4001.

Want to Read (Yet Another) Blog?
Check out Scribblers: The Calligraphy Blog.

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