Exploring Choice

Exploring

Do you remember when you learned to swim?  There you were, standing at the waters edge with your “floaties” on with your mom (or dad) gesturing for you to jump in. You shook your head vigorously and chose instead to dip a toe in, and then back in slowly over the edge of pool.  Or, perhaps you chose to ease in one step or ladder rung at a time.  Or maybe you bravely dove in?

I have been testing the waters with TAB, or Teaching for Artistic Behavior, and choice in the art room.  Diving in, exploring choice, and co-constructing learning seemed scary to me.

giphy (2)

via GIPHY

The steps started small.  Still cleaving to my DBAE, or Discipfile_000line-Based Art Education, roots, I offered choice and by variations within a project or having student input when designing a project.  For example, this fifth grade Artist Guitar project:

OR this second grade Britto project.

For this project, student interest and input designed the lesson – we sipped cocoa (sugar-free, of course) and students chose color and patterns.

All well and good, but student choice (and voice) was still limited.  I went to NAEA and took every Choice workshop I could, and started to wrap my head around it and really flesh out my goals.  I love how Anne Bedrick describes her goal in her essay (and book) Choice Without Chaos.  She says:

I teach the way I teach because I am keeping my eye on the end game, the adults that I want to help build… the innovators, the ones who persevere, the ones who ask questions and see possibilities, the ones who are able to be self-directed, organized, and can manage their time.  I want to help them realize that the key to success in anything is their trust in their own judgment.

As an art teacher, I am educating people.  Whether or not my students grow up and continue to make art is not the most important thing to me.  I hope that they will continue to make art, but if they grow up able to recognize problems and see possibilities in situations, then I will feel that I have succeeded as a teacher.

-Anne Bedrick, Choice Without Chaos

I had the chance to meet Anne at the NAEA convention, and I could not help but feel inspired by her passion and experience.   That is my desire – to create an environment that builds a well-rounded person who have the skills for jobs that don’t exist.  Yes, they will learn and develop and build things – and they will be wonderful because they created them – but, I – I am in the business of building up people.

Since then, I have begun swimming in the TAB pool.  I started with the younger students, and deconstructed a project I have done in the past and turned it into a “skill-builder”.  The students explore art materials and after that design a project.  Sometimes it has been more in-depth with art history embedded into the the skill-builders.

Art History and Image Resources (1)I have also begun curating digital resources.  Our district is going 1:1 with devices, so I have begun organizing videos, instructional resources, art history content connections, and image banks to help facilitate blended learning.

Video Art Resources (1)

What I love about this whole experience is seeing the the A-ha! moments – hearing them describe in great depth their thinEdTech Resourcesking and problem-solving behind the framework of their composition, their design choices, and choice of art materials.

2nd Grade: Poppin’ Art Patterns

My fabulous second graders are exploring the work of artist Romero Britto.  His bright, vibrant colors, exquisite patterns, and bold lines are such a great way to set the tone for a new school year.  I was also inspired by the fabulous Kathy Barbro.

It was especially inspiring for students to observe how he represented his home country of Brazil whilst carrying the torch during the Olympics a few weeks ago and check out his current art that he is creating on his Instagram.

 

For the past couple years I have had my students create a self-portrait inspired by the art of Gustav Klimt…however, it was time for somethings new.  In addition, as I gradually move towards more choice in the art room, I have provided a few examples to help inspire students as they organize their compositions.  These are easily accessible for my students so they can work at their own pace — pause and rewind some of the instruction. This allows me to more easily move around to their small groups and work individually with them.  It’s nice to be in two (or three or four) places at once.

After the students organize their compositions, they are going to add patterns and color.  I hope to have some examples of their progress for you soon!

Here are some resources to help you and your students get to know Romero Britto and his amazing art!

UPDATE (as of 10/21): Some finished products:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2nd Grade Paper Flower Relief Sculptures

Paper Flower Relief SculptureWhat’s a great way to merge science connections into art?  Plant life.  In the early spring, my second grade students explore the characteristics of plants and flowers and the importance of photosynthesis.  Students refine their manipulative skills as they create petals using brightly colored paper to create the petals.  To kick it up a notch, students use gel markers to invent patterns onto their petals.  I encourage the students to used analogous colors.  Students then glue their petals in a radial fashion to the center of another piece of brightly colored construction paper.  Next, student use orange or yellow paper to tear or cut and implement basic quilling techniques to curl and create the part of the flower integral for pollination.  Students also add leaves by created a football shape and creasing the center.   They glue three under the flower.  Finally, student quill and curl the ends of the petals to create depth.

Spring Art Show

Every school year it is my goal to hang each students art once.  At our school we have six art shows to display and honor their hard work and creativity in the art room. Twice a year our students have their artwork showcased at the local Art Gallery for a district-wide art show.  The reception for the Spring Art Show was held Thursday, March 8th.   Here are some snapshots of the show, where close to a hundred works of art were on display among the thousands from the elementary schools in the district.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.