Friday, April 15, 2016

Collaboration With Classroom Teachers/Thinking About TAB

Last summer I really thought a lot about my teaching, what I consider good teaching and tried to really reevaluate what I've done/plan on doing.  These are hard conversations to have with yourself, because we all have those lessons. The adorable ones, the favorite ones, the ones that get all the praise and accolades. I'm so scattered sometimes--like, I see something shiny and new and I'm totally distracted by it.  New products? I'm your girl (shamefully, I have a stack of these paints brand new/never used that I just had to have--look at the price of these! WHY haven't I used them?!) Blog post that strikes a cord? I might just jump on doing a similar lesson with no connection to what we've been doing (I made a 59 foot squid with first grade today, but that's a whole other post).  Big idea? I love the idea! Have I done anything with it? Nope.  Nothing, nada.  TAB and choice based? Hmmm, tell me more.  Last summer I read every book I could get my hands on (a most sincere thanks to my local art museum's educator resource center for ordering all those books for me!), and after reading all that and talking to people who are staunch supporters . . . .I just can't.  They're seven or ten or whatever and I think they benefit from some direction and more direct guidance.  All that being said, I just did a collaborative lesson with sixth grade classroom teachers over the subject of refugees.  Students read non-fiction literature in their classrooms over the Holocaust, and we read an article about contemporary artists who make art around modern refugees in my art classroom.  Then I gave the students [nearly] complete choice over what sort of art they'd make and what the message was (I didn't allow regular clay, but they could use air-dry, and I was totally fine with papier mache).  They did some pretty amazing work:

Each student filled out an artist's statement to hang on/with their work, so here are photos of the student work, and close ups of their artist statements (with a typed version in the caption to save you the eye strain):

"My project is about refugees and the white figures are people.
I used many different colors, and I don't think the piece of artwork
is for refugees or against them."

"This painting represents the struggle that refugees have
when being forced to leave home."

"it is a symbol of love and freedom"

"This is how most the refugees come into America,
because they don't get anything while traveling."

"I am showing what refugees means and trying to bring awareness."

"it was based on refugees. Some one wanted to
exspress his feeling on refugees."

"I made this to tell people that no matter how
bad things are, always have hope."

"My art work is about a refugee. What inspired
me is looking at other pictures and hearing about
what they are going through."
And some of the 3-D work:

Collaborative piece between three students:
"Albert Einstein was a famous refugee so why not create non other than Albert."

"In nature one of the hardest steps is the first one, Breaking through the egg.
Anyone can do it, you just have to take the first step."

"i chose this because i thought how peaceful origami birds are"

 These will be left up through May and our Leader In Me tour day.  I love the addition of the artist statements, as I think it really engages the viewer more.
For now I'll be over here in a corner, going though new supply catalogs and reading blogs to find new shiny things to totally distract invigorate me! 


  1. I can totally relate to what you said about TAB. I love the philosophy behind TAB, but I still do not feel like I can do this yet. I just cannot wrap my mind around the management of it with all those students. I do think there is a lot of value in open-ended art projects that I know that you do, and I strive for in my classroom as well.

    1. It feels like a natural reaction to all the testing/test prep teaching that's been going on for years, but I don't know if it's something I can teach well AND feel like I'm giving students the best education possible. But that's just me, I'm sure there are teachers who do a great job at it.


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