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?
I hope you check out my new curriculum page. I have been working on a few projects for this part of the website. I have these fabulous one page guides on implementing the Studio Habits of Mind. They will give you quick ideas on how to use that habit in the classroom for k-5. I do think that these would work for any age, but I try to include what is grade level appropriate for younger children. I am also creating a standards made simple section. This is a spot for the standards explained and made easy!
k-5 Creative Design Teacher
Quotes from students about TAB
Kids Art Links