Friday, January 15, 2010

"This is the funnest art ever!"

This was a comment from a second grader today. I smiled. If you looked into the art room and wondered what we're doing, it's simple: We're doing art.

I have been thinking of trying out some of the TAB concepts (see my blog entry here) for some time and am now going on my third week of a modified TAB approach. I have three centers running so far and the idea in each is to allow students to make choices while at the same time getting them to visit each center - eventually.

One center is a construction center where kids are cutting and gluing using
construction paper and making pictures by combining shapes of all kinds and all sizes. Both 2D and 3D constructions were encouraged. The first two weeks were open-ended and kids were allowed to make whatever their creative little minds could come up with.

The drawing center takes up two tables and is fully stocked with drawing books, plenty of paper,and drawing/coloring supplies. Kids can choose to either draw from their imagination or draw using the step by step books in the book tub (I have about 25 books available for the kids that range from easy to difficult).
The painting center is a busy place (like the drawing center, it takes up two tables.) Currently we are using liquid tempera, mixing colors, using brushes, forks, sponges, tongue depressors, and an assortment of objects to paint with. We are learning about combining colors and layering them to get interesting visual effects. The kids have produced some very interesting paintings and as soon as I get some scanned I plan on uploading some to this blog and to my website.

The first two weeks have been mostly learning about how the room is to be run and experimenting with new techniques in painting. It's also proving to be a time for me to learn what works, what doesn't, and where holes need filling.

Since students will be given more choices, personal responsibility is a key factor to success. I'm attempting to deliver a more student driven curriculum while remaining faithful to the goals and objectives for each particular grade level. In a nut shell, my intent is to teach (through modeling, encouragement,
inspiration, and opportunity) artistic behaviors. What do "real" artists do when they sit down to do their art? How do they treat their tools? How do they think? What questions do they ask? Where do they get their ideas? All of this fits neatly within the framework of the art's standards. And you'll be happy to know that in order for this to work, there is a heavy emphasis on personal responsibility and making good choices. So far I'm liking what I'm seeing. There are some areas I need to address, but the student involvement in the center work and the creativity I'm seeing has surpassed my expectations. On the other hand, the clean up leaves something to be desired. But that's something I can fix.

The next several weeks I will be teaching the upper grades some painting techniques. The kids have experienced interesting visual effects using sponges, combs, forks, straws, pencil ends, and a variety of tools for stamping. 5th graders will use tongue depressors to paint a sunset. 4th graders are making fantasy castles using a background of either warm or cool colors. Backgrounds are painted with tongue depressors. Castles are make using cardboard, and details drawn on with permanent markers. 3rd graders are painting with an analogous color scheme and 2nd graders are making secondary colors from primary colors. (For the time being, I'm back to teaching whole group with the first graders. They don't handle the new environment well. I experienced lots of off-task behaviors. Back to the drawing board with them.) The other two centers in the room are open as well and there are new activities at each. I'll write about them after a week or so and reflect on how things are going with the new activities.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! thank you for posting and sharing your lessons and ideas. As a fairly new art teacher it is soooo helpful. Unfortunately I go room to room (art on a cart, but no cart) which makes TAB hard so I haven't implemented it though I try to teach in the most creative open-ended way possible. It is inspiring and it's great you are trying it out. Anyway, wanted to ask you if you have figured out an easy way to create online student art galleries. I noticed you had some work posted by your students. Is there a certain program you find easiest to work with? I know how time consuming it is to scan everything anyway!