To have a studio tracker or not? Throughout my years of teaching TAB, I have implemented Studio Trackers and sometimes I have not.
Wait…what is a Studio Tracker? A Studio Tracker is a chart or poll that helps students monitor and track what centers they visit in the art studio. There are many ways to create and use a Studio Tracker. I have tried a chart, digital trackers using Google Forms, and portfolio style (One page per student).
(Above is a Studio Tracker I use for K & 1)
So, what can I tell you about the advantages for Studio Trackers?
Students Self Monitor
One of the greatest benefits of having a student-directed classroom is that students oversee most aspects of the classroom. If students are choosing what they are working on, they should also oversee keeping track of what they are doing. It will also teach students how self-monitor.
Helps Students Reflect
Students (and adults) have a difficult time remembering what they have been working on in the studio over the past quarter or month. I have found that Studio Trackers are extremely beneficial as a reflection tool for students. It becomes a quick visual tool to tell students what centers they have been in the most and least. It is also instant data to share with admin or parents.
Great Addition to Portfolios
If students are already keeping a sketchbook or portfolio, adding a Studio Tracker would make a great addition to show off.
The key to Studio Trackers is getting students into the routine of completing them. I always say make sure is it purposeful and meaningful. (My best tip is to make a routine before they start centers. It seems like once work starts- it is difficult to get students to stop.)
When my assistant principal was conducting my end-of-year evaluation, we had a meaningful conversation about my classroom environment. She has observed my classroom and the transition to TAB over the past eight years. She has a very good understanding of what my classroom is.
Colorado’s teacher evaluations consist of a rubric with four standards. To obtain a higher score, the observer will have to see what the students are doing. I feel like I am at an advantage with this rubric because of my learner-driven environment. I asked my assistant principal
if she thought I can score higher because my classroom is student-directed. She replied that my classroom is the way it is because of ME.
(Here is a snippet of the Colorado Teacher Rubric)
This got me to thinking…what does it mean to be a TAB teacher?
First and foremost, remember that Teaching for Artistic Behaviors is a philosophy. It consists of three sentences: 1) What do artists do? 2) The child is the artist. 3) The classroom is the child’s studio.
I believe that the student is the artist. I try my best to push aside my personal aesthetic and ideas to honor the students’ ideas, aesthetics, and style.
I admire my students’ process and guide them along the art making journey.
But…this does not mean that I am always in full choice mode. I believe in maintaining a classroom with good management. I know that works best with a gradual release idea when opening the studio for my students. (And, occasionally, I do have those things that I need to do for assessments or the school.)
Now that I have a rubric created for my students to use, I started to question: How am I going to collect and record evidence? I have relied on self-assessments and artists statements in the past. I still want to use those but, I am finding that most of my standards are observable skills. I have observe my students doing most of the skills. I am in the process of creating these grading sheets to help me record skills observed in my students. I have this one below for 5th grade share time. I find that share time can be a great assessment. Students interact, interpret, and analyze their own art. I am creating these for me to fill out during their share time. (CLICK the picture to get whole document)
I am still debating on grading categories. I was thinking:
40% Reflection, Statements
50% Reflections, Statement
Let me know if you have ideas!