Idea for the Coming Year: Vocabulary and Response

I just purchased a copy of Design Language by Tim McCreight. Check out the content sample.

I got a bolt of inspiration stemming from the content of this book and the nature of discussion question posed by my online graduate art teachers. This idea is in its rough infancy stage:

  • Each student has a response notebook. He or she may leave notebooks in the class so they are not lost.
  • Each week introduces a new vocabulary term from the book, and I write it on the white board along with a definition. It stays up all week. It may include an illustration if appropriate. This can be repeated on the class website.
  • Along with the vocabulary term comes a question that requires critical thinking and the student’s own background and point of view.
  • Each Monday, students have ten or so minutes to write the vocabulary term, definition, and their response in the notebook. They can take additional time during the week to complete their answer. Perhaps I can have a follow-up question later in the week.
  • I check the notebooks each Friday, or once a month.


Term: Aesthetics
Definition: 1. the criticism of taste; 2. the sense of the beautiful; 3. having a love of beauty; 4. (plural) a branch of philosophy that provides a theory of beauty in the fine arts
Question: What makes something “beautiful”? Give an example from your own experience.

I know this is not groundbreaking, but for some reason I have not done it before.

By Dawn Pedersen

Science advocate, web designer, educator, artist, and mommy.

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