This is long overdue and in part good timing.... For the folks who attended my presentation this past November at the Arkansas Art Educators Conference - I know I have owed you a copy of my presentation and some video footage of my classroom with choice-based projects happening. It was a rough November and December for several reasons - and one of the reasons being my computer needed some cleaning and updates. I really didn't get that all figured out until late January... because as we all know other things in life happen!
So here I am - talking about choice-based art at the middle level. It is also good timing because I will be presenting about this very topic at NAEA in New Orleans in a few weeks, AND I am revisiting what choice-based art means for my students' learning as I redo some entries for National Board Certification.
There are lots of variations of choice-based art, and it will look different in each art room you visit. Why? It depends on space - an art room (big or small), traveling art cart, .... It depends on support - stakeholders (parents, students, teachers, administrators, etc.).... It depends on resources - supplies, supply budgets, technology or not, .... It depends on limitations - space, support, time, resources, .... It depends on - well - why are you thinking about choice-based art for your students?
For me, I came to TAB or Teaching for Artistic Behavior two years ago because our school was going to have a different schedule than before... and from talking to other middle school art teachers in our district who already had this new schedule, they mentioned that they saw students inconsistently consistent. Wait, what?? Some students came to art twice or three times, and sometimes it was T/R for several, but sometimes it wasn't consistent - so kids coming to art M-F but not with a set repeat day; some once, some twice, a few three times. Ummmm - how am I going teach? How are the kiddos going to learn anything? Large group instruction seemed impossible, so then what? I was reading a little bit about TAB and then I saw a post on Facebook from another art teacher who was asking about TAB and wanted more info. Katherine Douglas, the momma of TAB as I call her, posted her email and said to contact her. Really???? So, I did.
This is my second year as a TAB teacher - even though I really believe I was on the choice-based path, but didn't realize it fully. Years before I had always tried to give kids choices in their artwork - subject matter, how materials might be used, etc. - so maybe I was a bit more modified-choice. Is there anything wrong with that??? Nope. ....And that is the thing about teaching choice-based art (as I mentioned earlier in the article - - - see I am getting back to my main point...) is that it looks different for everyone. Sometimes modified-choice works best. It depends on all the things I mentioned above AND your students. What is best for you AND your students???? Is everything going to be perfect? Nope. Do I readjust centers and ideas? All the time. Do I think anything gets stagnant in a choice-based art room? Nope. It will always evolve - and I think that is great! Check out my Studio and Gallery tabs to see some of the work students create in our studio centers.
Thinking about going to choice-based art? Why?
More coming soon. I think I'm gonna need to upgrade my blog to support videos and more photos and resources. Stay tuned!!!Artfully Yours...Nikki K.