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Interdisciplinary Connections Art

How The Extraordinaires® Aligns with the National Core Arts Standards

Creativity can be nurtured, practiced, and encouraged in everyone

One of the most important foundational concepts of the National Core Arts Standards is that 'Creativity and innovative thinking are essential life skills that can be developed.' When educators share that belief, they discard the false notion that a person has to be 'born creative' or have some rare capacity to make useful and beautiful things. In actuality, creativity can be nurtured, practiced, and encouraged in everyone, and that means the more exposure young people have to projects and exercises that require creative applications, the more confident those young people will become in their abilities.

Confidence is necessary for the development of self-esteem and resilience, and art classes are a wonderful place to help young people grow. When young people are insecure about their creative and artistic skills, they can be quick to doubt the worth of their ideas before they have even begun an assignment. In an art class, activities like the Design Challenges in The Extraordinaires® Design Studio alleviate some of that doubt while still challenging the student to rise to the occasion by making the activity feel like a game and subtly nudging children to be more mindful of what they are creating.

The National Coalition for Core Arts Common Anchor Standards for Creativity and the Core Arts Essential Questions are valuable guidelines for benchmarking students’ creative development. Many of them can be addressed by giving students an Extraordinaires Design Challenge.

The following is an alignment summary of how the components of The Extraordinaires® Design Studio meet these Common Anchor Standards:

Common Anchor Standards for Artistic Process: Creating

  1. Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
    • An Extraordinaires character card combined with a Design Project card.
    • The 'Research' section of the Think Cards.
  2. Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
    • The isometric line design of the Idea Pad.
    • The 'Design' Section of the Think Cards.
  3. Refine and complete artistic ideas and work.
    • The 'Improve' section of the Think Cards.
    • The Award Cards (in some Design Sets).

The above summary can help art teachers to structure lessons around both the concepts of the Core Arts philosophy and the performance tasks that students would undertake depending on grade level.

Selected Essential Questions from the Core Arts Standards

What conditions, attitudes and behaviors support creativity and innovative thinking?

Routinely experiencing goal-driven art projects like the Design Challenges in The Extraordinaires® Design Studio give students more than simply an opportunity to draw. They learn what it takes to be an innovator. Students can become

  • open-minded to different perspectives
  • determined to complete an explicit task
  • willing to improve and refine existing work
  • positive about benefiting someone else
  • accepting of constructive criticism
  • supportive to others seeking feedback

How does collaboration expand the creative process?

When students work in pairs or teams to create a design solution for the same Extraordinaire or the same Design Project, they invariably share in the goal of benefiting their character rather than benefiting themselves. This redirection of the exercise’s objective makes sincere collaboration possible. Students learn that creativity is not a rare trait, it is a skill that is improved when we bring together our ideas and contributions – regardless of proficiency – to see to the completion of something meaningful.

What responsibilities come with the freedom to create?

Students must have empathy for their Extraordinaire. That character has a need, and the student must come up with a design solution to meet that need. At every step of the process, The Extraordinaires® Design Studio reminds students that, as creators, they can have an important positive impact on the world. Using art to help others gives children the chance to experience how self-expression and imagination can be powerful tools for good if they learn how to act responsibly with their skills.