News from the Art Room
Our art curriculum is taught through a new method which has been dubbed "Teaching for Artistic Behavior" or, TAB. Often it's called "Choice-based Art" or Studio Art. This method has been developed by many art teachers across the nation and has been shown to promote independence, creativity, problem solving skills, cooperation, and deep analysis of artwork made by both students and working artists. The basic tenets of TAB are: studios are set up around the art room which the teacher gives lessons on how to properly use the materials contained in them. The students are given freedom on which studio they choose for the day and they work independently on subject, theme, or style of art. This freedom allows for experimental play, self-directed learning, and deep engagement on the part of the student. The teacher's job is to provide the materials in an easy-to-use manner, instruct students on the proper methods of using the media, find common themes among student artists and working artists, and assess student performance based on the Colorado State Standards.
As with my students' artwork, this transition to TAB is an ongoing process, and I am learning more each day about the best practices for the art studio. However, I am already sensing a feeling of vibrant freedom thrumming through my students when they walk into my room. They know that whatever they produce on that day, it will be something deeply meaningful and personal to them. Their teacher will be supportive and encouraging, and will push them to reach for their greatest potential
One big change that parents and students will start to see is that artwork produced in the art studio is decidedly "kid art." Because the students are not being given rigid, step-by-step directions and "have-to's" (you "have to" make a painting today, you "have to" create an abstract collage today, etc), student work is on a level appropriate for their development, not to adhere to an adult aesthetic. These pieces are so much more meaningful to the makers, and will certainly not all look the same.
Assessing in a choice –based classroom is not just assessing one finished piece of art, but an evaluation of how students go about creating art work, what they think about , and how they connect art work to others. In other words, authentic assessment needs to evaluate artistic behavior. We are fortunate to have an excellent tool to use to assess artistic behavior in an organized and logical way. The book, “Studio Thinking 2” (Hetland, et al; 2013) outlines eight “Studio Habits of Mind”. These eight “habits of mind” are integral to all artistic practice. Many of them have value across disciplines and are important life skills. Teaching these “studio habits” is widely recognized as integral to good art education:
● Develop Craft (skill development and knowledge about tools, materials and art concepts)
● Engage & Persist (putting your heart into it and not giving up when it gets hard)
● Envision (the ability to visualize and imagine)
● Express (creating work that communicates an idea, feeling, or personal meaning)
● Observe (looking closely to see things that might otherwise be overlooked)
● Reflect (learning to evaluate your work and talk about it with others)
● Stretch & Explore (pushing yourself to try new things, and embrace opportunities to learn from mistakes and accidents)
● Understand Art Worlds (learning about art history, multicultural art, and contemporary artistic practice)
From “Studio Thinking: the Real Benefits of Visual Art Education,” Lois Hetland et al, (Teachers College Press, 2007)
I firmly believe that by understanding these 8 facets of being an artist, my students will be more able to refine their high order thinking skills and become comfortable with expressing themselves and their ideas through visual art. The eight studio habits align with our Colorado State Visual Art Standards and with the new National Core Art Standards. All students, no matter what materials or ideas they are working with, work on these same objectives, Thank you,