Spectacular!

Spring is blessing Texas this year with a once-in-a-decade wildflower bloom and nothing says Texas like an explosion of bluebonnets across that state.

GOT snagged the photo, uploaded it for his cover photo on his personal Facebook page, and tagged his cousin who lives in Texas. Yep, it’s a drive-by photo of the wonder and beauty of nature.

But then, GOT is taking a professional development on-line course in art and incorporating art in the classroom. The course caught his interest because he used to do that and has somehow moved away from it. Art and mathematics go together like a hand in a glove. GOT wants to bring art back into his Geometry classroom.

At this point in the course, we students are asked to slow down, even stop, contemplate a work of art and reflect on what we see. This photo of Texas bluebonnets is a work of art and the longer GOT contemplates it, the more he sees.

The rough fence post with shavings sticking out. Humanity wrenched a piece of nature, took a tree, and tried to make it fit into the mold we wanted. We want to dominate all nature and bend it to our will–make it conform. We would like a sleek, shiny post. But the wood resists. Remaining in its environment, the rain and the air turns it grey. Pieces swell with moisture and peel off.

However much we try, we humans do not control the forces of nature and cannot make them do as we will.

But we can use them much as the fence post is used to hold up the strands of barbed wire. Clearly a boundary has been set that nothing should cross.

The flowers laugh. They don’t respect the artificial boundaries of the division of land that we would reinforce with fences. They move across the land undeterred. They go where they want. They spread beauty despite the barbed wire. They will not be confined. They will fulfill that for which they were destined.

But there are more than bluebonnets. There are those other flowers, red and yellow, that rise up among the blue. In the riot of life, they do not conform. They have their own color and will be true to that. They are not a part of the majority, but they insist upon their inclusion among the beautiful flowers.

This is an education blog. But I am not going to give you my application of the art to the issues of education and life. Rather, like a good teacher, I am going to let you come to your own conclusions even though I’m making a few suggestions.

  • Will you make a connection to the fence and the flowing flowers as representing the futility of standardized testing trying to define who children are, what they can be, and at its worst, what they can only be? Can human potential be restrained?
  • Will you see the flowers as mocking the current immigration policies of the United States and the social implications that we should explore in the curriculum?
  • Will you see the red and yellow flowers as the children who don’t fit a tidy morality that many would impose and yet admit they are beautiful, that the contrast they present with the dominant blue brings out the beauty of both, and are an essential part of the life being shown?
  • Or are you going to align with ed reformers who have done their best to stamp this out of the curriculum, not because it is unimportant, but because this type of learning cannot be reduced to measurement on a standardized test?
  • GOT means how does one handle a learning exercise when no answer is wrong?
  • Such is art.
  • That is why it is an important part of life and its importance in education must be restored.

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