Stealing The Mona Lisa
Oh, the Mona Lisa... Did you know this world renown painting was once stolen? On August 21st, 1911 a former Louvre worker entered the museum through the employee entrance wearing employee clothing. When the hall in which the painting of the enigmatic brunette was exhibited emptied, the Italian born Vincenzo Perrugia removed it from the wall, its case, and its frame and exited the building the same way he entered it; the painting rolled up and tucked under his arm.
Mission impossible these days right? Maybe... But we can't think this way. Not us teachers. No way. Because...
Our job is to teach our students to steal the Mona Lisa.
Let's figure out how.
If Vincenzo Perrugia made stealing the Mona Lisa look easy, doing it today will be anything but. No individual can accomplish this. It will require a deft team that can efficiently and effectively work together. Each member will have to possess several highly developed skills and be world class in one or two of them. She will be a kick ass specialist who can combine her strengths with those of the other members to form a team of superheroes capable of pulling off this heist.
And so it is the job of all teachers to teach students how to work as a team. This involves communication, collaboration, culture, consistency, and common goals. Here's a Free Teamwork Infographic.
In and out. Stealing the Mona Lisa will be like The Matrix meets Mission Impossible in real life. Hard and hardcore; it will be a work of art in itself. The team capable of the feat, will not only have to solve problems; it will have to identify them first.
This is why it is important to place authentic problems in front of our students first and help them learn how to approach solving these problems. Then, we progress to a point at which students identify relevant problems that exist in their school, community, and the world, so they can research them extensively and propose thoughtfully designed solutions.
Stealing the Mona Lisa will require major creativity. It will have to be done in a way no one expects or has ever even thought of. The problems associated with the theft will not just have to be solved. They will have to be solved in a way that leads to a clean getaway. The plan will have to be nearly perfect; a flawless victory.
Luckily, creativity can be taught. It is a skill we acquire and one that can be amplified. Structuring classroom activities that allow students to take multiple approaches and be creative does just that. Here's a Free Creativity Is A Superweapon Infographic you can use to teach it.
Because stealing the Mona Lisa has to be accomplished in a most unexpected and clever way, the team will have to constantly innovate. It must stay on top, and in some situations ahead of the technological and other advances. It will have to counteract the cutting edge security systems and safeguards put in place to make mission impossible possible.
Teach students to innovate by using design thinking. Here's a blog post I wrote that contains 3 Design Thinking Infographics you can use with your students.
Confidence comes from knowledge, experience, and belief in ability to accomplish anything one is tasked with. This means one has to know how to learn effectively, which involves acquiring, understanding, and applying information. Each member of the Steal The Mona Lisa Superteam will have to think on their feet and quickly. Unexpected situations will arise, but they will persevere and be successful.
So, teach your students to believe in themselves by teaching metacognition and how to really learn. I wrote a book to help teachers do that called "Crush School." You can get it on Amazon here. I also have Free Infographics you can use here.
Look. While stealing the Mona Lisa would be the ultimate cool bucket list item, I probably don't want my students to actually steal it* I just want them to be able to. I want them to have the skills that allow them to figure out how to steal the Mona Lisa. And I want Leonardo to look down upon us all, smile, and say
You have the power to change lives. Use it often.
*Unless they make a clean break, split the profits with me, and we buy a tropical island no one can find.