The Right Brain Initiative


Hearing it Straight from Students

December 7th, 2010 by Right Brain Team

Sometimes we just can’t say it any better.
As a follow-up to my previous blog entry on the Imagination Interview process that offers students time to reflect on their Right Brain arts experiences, we thought we’d share eight of our favorite clips, straight from the mouths (and brains) of our interviewees – the students.

Just to be clear, these aren’t straightforward accounts of what the students did during their Right Brain residencies. These are their responses to our interview structure asking them to dig into their own cognitive process. Students share how their brains work, what they remember from their experience working with artists and when during that experience their imaginations were engaged. So, what you’ll hear in these clips aren’t much detail about the projects, as much as a small window into what the students remember thinking and imagining while they were engaged.

The first two clips below feature a fifth grader named Mabel who worked over the course of a month with Young Audiences’ artist Nicole Joanne last year making self-published zines along with all her classmates.  In the first clip, she explained her drawing from an interview warm-up activity, in which she was asked to draw how her brain “looked” while she was participating in her Right Brain experience.

1. Fifth grader Mabel explained her brain as she worked on her own self-published zine.

2. Later in the interview, Mabel talked about the deepest thinking and planning she had to do during her zine-making project.

Next, we wanted to share some clips from students who were able to speak about their artistic  “process” as students looked back at how their own brains worked in their creative endeavors.

3. Hailey, a fifth grader, described her process for writing poetry, and reads her unbelievably captivating poem after a residency with Young Audiences’ Turiya Autry.

Here is a transcript of her poem:

Life in spring
As morning arrives the daffodils embrace the warm touch of the suns
long outstretched fingers.
The crocuses and grass sway like dancers in the gentle breeze.
The leaves on the trees are green at last and soon the grass will need a
I searched for footholds on my favorite climbing tree, my friend closely
pursuing me.
We watched butterflies flit past and squirrels chattering to their
We smiled at each other knowingly, our eyes twinkling like stars in the
glorious sunlight.
Spring had come again.

4. Reflecting on the improvisational theater work his class did with with artist Noah Martin, a very creative second-grader named Shawn talked about the group brainstorming he and his partners did to create unique and animated stories with personification.

5. A fifth grader, Katya details how her poetry ideas came to her in a dream, inspired by her writing/photography residency with Julie Keefe.

6. We also love this clip and drawing by fourth-grader Matthew as he explained his brain as affected by his experience with Portland Taiko, in 2009.

7. While detailing  his Portland Taiko residency, Matthew remembered how much the Taiko tenet of “perserverance” mattered to him.

8. Matthew astonished us as he continued to discuss how Portland Taiko influenced his understanding of a book he was reading.

Thanks to these students, and to the interviewers, artists and schools that helped make these interviews possible. Stay tuned for our next batch of of our favorite interview clips as the 2010-11 school year continues.


Right Brain Team