Today was the start of a new semester at school. I thought we needed to start off with a great activity–one that would shake off the slumber of winter break and ring in creativity and imagination for a new year. And what better way to do so than have a day-long TASK party.
I pulled out a bunch of supplies I had in my storage room: yarn, egg cartons, craft items, fabric, 12″ dowels, wooden hearts and starts, buttons. I plugged in all the hot glue guns we had. I grabbed the large rolls of colored paper from the faculty lounge. And, I started with a container full of tasks.
This party was to last all day. I have 7 classes. Once I started the party, I only broke for lunch, which consisted of writing more tasks. This was the only place the students faltered…well, and when it came to blindly picking a task. (Many wanted to pick and choose their task. It was hard to stop them.)
It really was a fun day. A few kids fought it at first, but ended up having a good time. I think they need that time to play. High school kids don’t often get that anymore. And bonus, no one was on their computer today. I wish I knew how many tasks were completed today…or at least attempted. It would be fun to figure it out. Perhaps next time.
By the end of the day, my feet were killing me and I was tired as all hell. But, I had a counter full of artifacts. I had a hopscotch board on my floor, and I had 2 body outlines–one in dry erase marker and one in tape. (Just an FYI–certain dry erase markers don’t come off the floor so easily.) I had a roll full of photos of the students making and laughing and creating and smiling. I had a heart full of memories. And, I think it set the tone that creativity is welcome here–and encouraged.
“Created by contemporary artist, Oliver Herring, TASK can take many forms each time it is performed. Every artist involved, depending upon the prompt (TASKS) and the materials on hand has the capacity for creative input and creative action. TASK is a fantastic means to exploring the big idea of Play–what place does it have in a classroom? Without play, we are not free to explore ideas, to push possibilities, and trust our responses to others ideas, and our own ideas within the context and structure of a space with constraints of materials on hand.”
~from a TASK handout I received at an art conference this summer
Wha? In other words, TASK is an activity where artists pull a TASK from the task box which can be interpreted any way the artist chooses. Then each artist contributes a TASK to the TASK box for others to interpret. “You take one, you write one” TASKS can be anything…from build a treehouse to do a line dance, to brush your teeth.
Materials offered to the artists can vary and include, paper, scissors, cardboard, yarn, string, glue, foil, bubble wrap, paint, crayons, tape….it is really up to the teacher. And, constraints can be added like time allotted or limiting materials.
I went to the Texas Region 13 Re-Charge mini art conference this summer and unfortunately I was late. The workshop had started, so I walked into the room with minimal instructions on TASK, but I jumped right in. I pulled my TASK and it was “Build a Tree House”. I took a deep breath, looked around at the materials supplied and found an empty spot to proceed. I completely loved the activity. I loved being creative with the different materials and I really enjoyed looking around to see what others were doing and how they manipulated the materials.
My tree house. I am quite pleased with it.
The table where we shared our “artifacts”
I plan on bringing task into my classroom this year. I think I will do it once a 6 weeks so the kids can have a day or two to re-charge and get the juices flowing. I think it will flow seamlessly into my TAB classroom.