I was introduced to this idea by Dale Zalmstra. Dale's tool ring version included Elements of Art, Principle of Design, and techniques. I plan on including those on my version as well. I added the component of self-tracking and reflection. I believe that if I am giving my students choice they need to be responsible for tracking what they are doing and reflecting on their progress.
Here is how the tool rings work.
1) Artist Tool Ring Center
I created a center in my room to store supplies and each classes rings. I keep copies for the tool rings and extra rings here. The white baskets hold each classes tool rings. I like that the tool rings are smaller compared to sketchbooks. Makes it a bit easier to store.
2) Class Procedure
Usually I will set out the classes tool rings like this, so that they can find them a bit faster. I have students visit their tool ring every day. I tell them that if they are still working with the same project they just add the date to the top. If they are working on a new idea they get a new paper. Here is a 2nd Grade example below:
3) Filling Out Tool Rings
It can usually take 5-10 minutes or faster for students to fill out their plans. It does take some practice. My students are improving at it. I keep this picture on my whiteboard to help them remember how to do it. There is a video below of students working on their tool rings.
*I debated on putting Express along with Observe. We have been working with Observe this year as a class. So, I decided to leave it. I am sure that there can be many different ways to create this type of tracking.
This tool ring has a big purpose! It helps us reflect!
I decided to create a Google Forum for 3-5th grade students to fill out to reflect on their tool rings. They reflect on successful project, what they can improve, effort, what centers they used, and studio habits used. I typed comments back to them on the spreadsheet and print those. I staple them to their tool ring papers. Click the picture to go the forum.
CLICK HERE TO GET A PDF of the Tool Ring Pages
The best part is I made them so six fit on one paper.
Watch for the next post about Perspective and Space on tool rings!
When did finished product become the evidence of students knowledge?
What about practice and process? The real authentic learning experience of art. Here is a video I made that looks at a class in work, and discusses all the skills that are happening.
Some time back I introduced my students to play dough circuits. I did this to help them understand circuit basics. I was hoping that some of them would want to challenge themselves in creating art that incorporated circuits. I had a 3rd grade boy that wanted to make his robot light up this week. So, we got to work. This is how we did it.
3V Disc Batteries
#1 Figure out placement for the LED light and battery. Place two lines of copper tape for the negative and positive currents.
#2 Construct a battery holder. My student figured out how to place his copper tape and where the battery should go. I had to help with this part. I cut two pieces of cardboard. One piece fits the battery nice and snug. The other piece will just hold the battery in place.
#3 Next, I had to configure the placement for the battery holder over one of the copper lines. The other copper line will have a hinge that will become a button. I used a small rectangular piece of cardboard to create the button. I added copper tape the back of the hinge. (Remember to not let the copper lines touch each other!)
#4 I added the LED light with some electrical tape. (Remember the longer end is positive!)
Test it before moving on.
I recommend buying the supplies from Amazon. The LED lights are pretty cheap and it made it easy to have everything delivered to me. I keep my LED lights in a jewelry box to keep them organized.
I am wondering what my students are going to come up with next.
Give me more ideas on creating these guides. I hope they are helpful.
"I'm done. What should I do now?" I know that we have all heard it. By setting up a share or reflection center in your room it gives that routine and structure for kids. When I hear my students say that, I send them to the share center to fill out an artist statement or photograph their work. I also keep their planning sheets here. So, they know what to do next!
#2) Keeps me organized
I keep art to display organized in this center. It HELPS me so much when it is time for art show. This center is next to my desk. I like having it away from the students work area. You could even consider having the students mat and tag their art for you.
#3) Meeting a standard
By having my students reflect, I am meeting state and national standards.
Check out the YouTube video to see how my share center is set up.
A simple answer is through choice. I allow my students to research and explore art history through the web. They answer a few simple questions about some art. I added a twist this year. They have to make art inspired by the art research they completed. There are some really neat projects in progress. I am currently doing this with 3rd-5th grade.
Some of the photos posted are just of students practice or models for their final. I really pushed Envision with this project. I encourage them to find their own way of planning. They just had to write a sentence objective by using the Studio Habits of Mind rings that I implement.
I am also having them created websites to reflect their learning on this project. I hope to share some of those too.
I'm presenting this weekend at the Colorado TAB conference at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. I usually get asked to talk about TAB with younger students. I LOVE my kinders! I created a guide on how to start TAB with Kinder and 1st grade. I am working on more unit guides that look like this to share.
A few tips that I want to point out, I always recommend to anyone who needs more ideas or management support to go observe a preschool teacher. Preschool teachers are masters at running centers. I taught preschool for a year and have some education with early childhood. It really helped with my transition to TAB. There are very similar philosophies and ideas like Reggio Emilia.
My schools ask to show what standard I am focusing on for the day. I try to write my plans and guides with a focus.This guide focuses on the creating standard but I know there are other standards tied in. If you are not in Colorado, our standards are pretty close to the national standards. I know that when they rewrote the national standards they used ours as a guide. I did put a note for the anchor standard.
I included a book list with idea on how to tie into the curriculum. I almost always use "Giraffes can't Dance" as a first day book. I talk about how we are all going to learn something new together and to be helpful to each other. It sets a good tone.
I even put some of my phrases that I use with the kids. It's good to know a few of those as an elementary teacher.
Share ideas with me, if you are looking for something specific. This is a how to get started and beginning of the year guide.
Get the guide on the Curriculum Page.
Opening a sculpture center with primary grades is probably one of my favorite parts of the year. It’s amazing to see my students’ imagination and creativity with sculpture.
I have a rule that minimal is best with elementary. That is why I keep a very small sculpture center. I also like that the box can easily be transported. I love the marker and colored pencil classroom set boxes. I spray paint them and reuse in my centers.
Here is a list of my usual sculpture center supplies:
I teach kindergarten and 1st grade a few basic attachments using the item in my attachment box. Developing artists have a difficult time understanding how to make items stand. I focus on giving items “feet” or using no glue. I teach them stitching, tabs, zip ties, and using the hole punchers.
Attachment Box Supplies:
I want my younger students to understand why sculpture is different from other centers. We discuss three-dimensional verses two-dimensional art. We also talk about how clay can be sculpture too. I found this awesome “Sesame Street: Word on the Street Video”. My students loved it.
INFUSE TECHNIQUES IN THE TAB CLASSROOM
“So, you don’t teach techniques or skills?” “There is no demonstration in your lesson plans.” I have heard this quiet a bit from other art educators. It’s not that I abandon skills and technique, but rather that I have a different perspective about them. I feel that techniques are infused throughout the room and process, but do not sit at the why or purpose of art making.
"Techniques are infused throughout the room and process, but do not sit at the why or purpose of art making."
“Develop Craft Days”: I teach techniques of “Develop Craft Days”. I pick a few techniques at a center and demonstrate those at the beginning of class. I try to pick something that my students need extra help on or maybe it’s a new material in the center. I don’t like the boot camp idea for elementary students because it can be lengthy. I don’t get to see my students that often. (Do what works best for your students!)
Artists teaching and observing other artists: The art studio is a place to learn from each other. I have learned some amazing techniques and skills through my students. For example, I have had students show up with new origami folding techniques they discovered. This student gave a demonstration to a small group of students. I believe that we tend to forget that art is universal. I shouldn’t be the only person in the class giving all the demonstrates.
Techniques can be personalized: I believe that students should refine techniques with mediums they are interested in. I know what materials I love as an artist, so I continue to develop with those. I should let my students do the same. I am there to guide and facilitate for them. This will allow my students to find their style and interest.
Techniques are meant to be discovered: There are plenty of artist that use materials unconventionally. I feel like I see new techniques all the time on social media. A recent example was, Amy Shackleton, that uses gravity to paint. This is one of the reasons I let my students experiment. I had a student create a clay pot by using different extruder shapes this year. I didn’t teach him this technique. He discovered it! Allowing students to discover techniques is part of the creative process.
What is your perspective on techniques?
k-5 Creative Design Teacher
Quotes from students about TAB
Kids Art Links