Monday, October 20, 2008

Dioramas Done Right.

As a teacher, I recall doing dioramas as a project in various classes and once, not all that long ago, I was challenged to abandon such things as classroom assignments by a presenter at a workshop. His point was that as adults in an authentic reading experience we don't typically complete a book and then begin to complete a vast study guide and even if we do spend some time on the reader's guide questions we usually discuss those questions with friends in a book group or over coffee. We most certainly do not make a diorama of a scene from our book. It makes me smile to think of doing some of the projects I've assigned, at home in my spare time. Some of them might be fun. Yet, I also realize for the time involved to make them good (a diorama for instance), it doesn't justify the amount of learning that could take place in another way. I'm a little embarrassed I didn't figure this out a bit sooner.

The reason Laura Plansker's art makes me think of this is because a few year's back a student did a creative project response to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and it was lovely. As a student, Mandy was a fine artist who paid attention to detail and could see and create wonderful things. Still, she was the exception rather than the norm. And really, her project could have been completed with even very little understanding of the play.

On the other hand, Ms. Plansker's art is just that--art. And I love it with all its delicious creativity. I love these fantastical little worlds she's created. Her website is filled with more and a few of them are Tim Burton creepy. The one with the alligator actually reminds me of Mandy's Midsummer scene and the bird/girl scene has Mary Poppins associations for me.

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