Artists at Freedom Elementary will think like artists this year in art! Learners will explore, observe, brainstorm, experiment, play, reflect, and create! They will discover both famous and contemporary artists' work and studio habits to see just how an artist "ticks." A strong emphasis will be about understanding the art process and what an artist goes through to create a work of art, mistakes and all! Take a look around and enjoy!
About Our Studio
The Freedom Elementary Art Studio is evolving into a more student-centered space. The philosophy guiding us is called TAB (Teaching for Artistic Behavior). The three guiding principles of this framework as defined by its founders Kathy Douglas and Diane Jacquith are:
- What do Artists do?
- The Child is the Artist
- The Classroom is their Studio
What does this mean for the art room? Read on.
Child as Artist
We will celebrate individual growth and personal ideas this year in the art studio. Art will look very different as every child takes ownership of what they choose to make their art about, and also what tools and materials they create with. My role as teacher will change as I facilitate skill development through demonstrations of material usage, along with guided mini-lessons called "Skill Builders." After artists have dabbled in the skills demonstrated, they will be in charge of choosing how to apply that knowledge to their own art-making during studio time. Every artist has the potential to engage in something different as more media centers are introduced throughout the year. In this responsive environment I can evaluate what skills artists truly need, and have more flexibility to work in smaller groups when needed.
We know that all learners have unique needs and come with varying skill sets. The beauty of this framework, is that all artists are met at their true developmental level, and are encouraged to create and grow without fear of comparison to others. Thus, positive attitudes toward art-making can be established. Artists can acknowledge each other's' strengths and become teachers to one another. Successes are celebrated as artists overcome personal challenges. Learners are able to explore ideas they are passionate about, or that have personal significance, making them more motivated to engage in the art making process. Teamwork and collaboration is also a natural occurrence.
The classroom is organized in a variety of media centers that artists can access supplies from independently. Artists are now in charge of choosing the tools to best express their personal ideas. Centers will be opened gradually as skills are taught, and artists demonstrate readiness for new materials and techniques. After centers are introduced, artists will be able to move freely between centers of their choice. Some of the possible centers that artists will engage in throughout the year are:
The advantage to this center-based approach is that artists are able to take their learning deeper within a choice of media that they feel passionate about. Unlike in a traditional art room structure, they are free to spend as much time as they need to accomplish personal goals, or to overcome mistakes and challenges. Risk taking and independent problem-solving are encouraged and nurtured. Time and a safe space helps artists to foster a growth mindset.
Studio Habits of Mind
What do artists do?
The cornerstone of our student-centered philosophy is to allow students to truly think and act like artists. Within the studio environment, we are constantly reflecting on how we engage in these Studio Habits of Mind as we create:
- Develop Craft - Learning to use tools, materials, artistic conventions; and learning to care for tools, space, etc
- Engage & Persist - Learning to embrace problems of relevance, to develop focus conducive to working at tasks.
- Envision - Learning to picture mentally what cannot be directly observed & imagine possible next steps in making.
- Express - Learning to create works that convey an idea, a feeling or a personal meaning.
- Observe - Learning to attend to visual contexts more closely than ordinary "looking" requires
- Reflect - Learning to think and talk with others about an aspect of one's work or working process
- Stretch & Explore - Learning to reach beyond one's capacities, explore playfully without a plan, embrace mistakes
- Understand Art Community (World) - Learning to interact as an artist with other artists (classroom, locally, globally) within the broader society.
Reference: www.teachingchannel.org (8 Habits of Thinking Learned from Artists)
These Studio Habits of Mind are an integral part in helping our young artists to reflect and grow from their art making experiences. Understanding these helps them to foster a growth mindset so that they can better identify their strengths and weaknesses, and what steps they need to take to improve.
A Typical Day in the Studio...
- Beginning: 5-10 minute teacher demonstration. This may include: art history connections, new materials/techniques, studio habits, etc. These demonstrations are informed by my observations of what learners need or is most relevant to them.
- Studio Time: The majority of class is work time for artists to move around the room to centers of their choice. They use this time to envision their own idea, select materials to express their idea, and experiment with media. During this time I am able to work one-on-one or in small groups with artists. On designated days learners participate in "Skill Builders" which is an activity that is required as a whole class to experience a new art material or to learn a new technique. These can take anywhere from half the class to the whole class.
- Clean up: Scaffolded based on media. Artists are expected to put materials away where they found them, and to take care of their studio space.
- Reflection: Last 5 minutes. Learners share finished work or works in progress. As a whole class, or in small groups, learners discuss their work, articulating what they have learned, share their successes and/or discoveries, and also discuss possible ways to improve their work.