As she goes on to say:
Telling stories and remembering and forgetting and associative aspects of memory are things which have been with humans all along. Playing has always been with us. All of the things that we call art or psychology or even the skeletal system were there before they were named. They come with the package of being human. So Freud noticed something, but he didn’t invent it. Noticing and naming it is not what brings mental health in a troubled person. It’s like thinking our immune system works only if we know there is an immune system. The human act of using images to work with what is troubling, what is older than that? The Greeks knew about it. They noticed it and named it, calling it ‘catharsis’. It seems to me this is something that has been noticed and named in one way throughout history, but noticed or not, it still is there and it still works.
Last year, when Mr. Keller taught 5th grade, some wonderful friends of his out in California had a poster-making party. They used the old fashioned tools (construction paper, glue, glitter, etc.) to make posters that expressed encouraging ideas they hold dear. They put the posters in a big box, shipped them down to Waggaman, LA, and enclosed a note to the kids introducing themselves. Months later, the kids were still asking about their mysterious benefactors, and running the wisdom over and over in their brains. Their favorite was probably a banner that read “You Are One of a Kind.”
Create a poster by hand. Just as in Project 2, it can be encouraging, it can be academic, it can be profound, it can be whatever you think a kid would like to or should see in their classroom.
This project (and to some extent, BIG CLASS in general) was inspired by the Learning to Love You More project, which was
both a web site and series of non-web presentations comprised of work made by the general public in response to assignments given by artists Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher.
Participants accepted an assignment, completed it by following the simple but specific instructions, sent in the required report (photograph, text, video, etc), and their work got posted on-line. Like a recipe, meditation practice, or familiar song, the prescriptive nature of these assignments was intended to guide people towards their own experience.
It is one of our aspirations that a function of BIG CLASS is to offer the same sort of experience, with the added bonus of working with the innate creativity of kids.