Thursday, April 21, 2011


More sewing

"It's a little tiny pillow for my head."

Funny creatures made by two fifth grade boys.


"It took me a while, but I made this purse! And I used a ribbon for the strap, so it's soft."



"I made a stuffy! I glued on the face."
"It's a bunny, and I'm making him a house from a box."


"It's a pillow and a creature. I seweded [sic] all the buttons on myself."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Respecting the artist


This student explores colors, how they change when placed next to other colors. I could have come up with an assignment to teach this concept, but it would have had little impact. Not to mention that that level of color theory is quite advanced for a six-year-old.


This mixed media piece would make a much nicer father's day tribute than some of the pre-designed templates usually created in classrooms. 


Can feathers be limbs AND hair? Why not?

These first grade girls, in response to their male classmates statements that, "boys are better at basketball than girls!" created their own basketball team, complete with uniforms (made from butcher paper) and cheerleaders. Pictured here is the team flag. No written curriculum can better teach empowerment. (Interesting side note: the boys wanted cheerleaders for their team, too. "No way!" said the girls. "If you want cheerleaders, you can  find your own. We're cheering only for OUR team!")


Blocks. Yes, they do have a place in the art curriculum. Blocks enable artists to create temporary sculptures, to work on three dimensional designs without having to commit to their placement. They are often a collaborative venture, requiring teamwork and negotiation skills. Of course, engineering and balance are important factors as well. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Construction center sculptures



.
"It's a little house, and that's the creature that lives here."


"It was hard to get the string to stay in place, and make it strong enough to hold the spider."


"She has sequin eyes, and a feather skirt, plus she has a feather in her hair."


"She's a hula girl!"


"I'm going to put him on my desk, 'cause there's a compartment on the back to hold pencils."


"The hardest part was making the curving part attach to the sides."



Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Fiber Creations


This fifth grader used a favorite drawing as a pattern for a stuffy.


Another fifth grader created this pillow using a favorite logo.

"He's a sock monkey! I have a collection of them at home."



"Penguins are my favorite."


"It's for my American Girl doll."
(This student went on to make a full size skirt for her sister! She sewed it by hand, painstakingly, over the course of six weeks.)
"This is going to be a present for my friend. I chose this fabric 'cause she likes pink."


A second grader crafted these simple kittens from a rectangular pillow. (Idea from http://www.kids-sewing-projects.com/stuffed-kittens.html )

Simple felt doll, created by a second grader, "She's got brown hair and blue eyes, like me!"

"It's a present. I think she'll really like this pillow. It's not a pillow to sleep on, it's for decoration."


"I made a whale for my little brother! I sewed the eyes on very tight, 'cause I think he'll grab 'em and I don't want them to come off."

Sunday, April 03, 2011



Kindergarten collage artists

"This is me, 'cept she has pink hair, and I don't"



"I got these different materials here, and found this red shiny stuff for legs."


"Look! A feather! I just glued on things I liked."
I'm fascinated by the symmetry of this piece. Many children create symmetrical pieces, most of them unintentionally.


"Well, I drew it, then I'm filling in the clothes."


I switched to cardboard as a collage substrate with this class; many young children (especially those who haven't been able to use glue at home) enjoy making thick puddles of glue.




"It's a robot. And it's in three pieces, so I can fit it in my cubby."

About Me

My photo
Bountiful, Utah, United States

How does TAB work?

To implement TAB, I began with 1 center--the drawing center. It contains different drawing media: pens, pencils, crayons, markers, pastels, chalks, as well as various papers. Also included are dozens of different "How to Draw" books. We discuss as a class what artists draw. Some draw real things, or pretend things, or non-objective designs.

I also discuss the variety of drawing media available, and explain how to clean up.

It is amazing how much the kids enjoy this. I've recently added plastic animals and dinosaurs for the kids to look at while they draw.

The second week, I introduced the collage center, containing colored paper, glue, glue sticks, staplers, scissors, brads, and fabric.

I showed them some collages by Romare Bearden, as well as many student created works. I had to tell them how to determine what adhesive to use, and showed them the stickyometer poster.

They could then choose to go to the collage center, or the drawing center. The kindergartners LOVE the collage center. I love to watch them create. They are so free, so unlimited.

The third week, I opened the watercolor center, with watercolor pans, brushes and paper. The main focus for me was to teach them how to care for the brushes, put on smocks, and where to put their work to dry. They could then choose watercolor, drawing, or collage.

I kept it with just three centers for a few weeks (I see them once a week). It's important for them to learn to care for their supplies and the classroom. But while I wasn't introducing new centers, I did introduce new materials into existing centers, explaining their use (for example, I added whiteboards and markers to the drawing center). I also demonstrated new techniques (crayon resist with watercolors). And I've even started to integrate art principles and elements. Of course I included numerous examples and prints from to reinforce the concepts.

With those three centers humming along, I added the clay center. I did a super brief demo, showing them how to work with it. I did tell them that they could simply create with the clay and not try to keep it, or they could create things for me to fire in the kiln. I gave them admonitions like: "Clay can't be thicker than your thumb, or it will take too long to dry." and"Be sure to join any attachments securely". (Which we all know is MUCH easier said than done!)

Of course, the day I introduced clay, ALL the kids wanted to use it, but I had to limit it to eight. The kids grumbled a bit, but soon were off to other choices (it helped that I introduced craft sticks and chenille stems at the collage center!).

I tried to be as hands off as possible at the clay center. I stayed at the table with them, giving demonstrations as necessary. Joining clay is very difficult, but the determined kids will learn. One third grader created an adorable dog with toothpick thin legs barely hanging on. She wanted me to fire it. I knew there was no way that those pitiful little legs could hang on, I said, "Okay, but you'll need to put it on the shelf to dry." The shelf was only a couple of feet away, but poor little dog was legless by the time he got there! I will admit I felt more than a little coldhearted, but really, this is the only way for them to learn! The student sat with me, and I demonstrated joining and adding just a bit of moisture for her. She worked and worked on that dog, and it finally came together.

After clay was going (it took several weeks for all the students to have a chance, and I stayed at the clay center so they could all have some individual instruction), I was free to add some more centers.

First, I added painting with tempera paints. Next was the architecture or "temporary art", containing legos, blocks, cuisenaire rods, magnets, mosaic boards, and geoboards. This is where the students learn hands on about spatial properties and design elements.

I introduced the fiber center, with weaving and sewing. Kids truly enjoy this one, but they do need significant hands on instruction (especially threading the needles!) and I've put this one away for a bit.

The collage center was joined by the construction center. They can use cardboard, small boxes, and other castoffs to create. Kids have made houses, boats, star wars aircraft, cameras, and so much more here. Their adhesive of choice, though, is tape. Rolls and rolls and rolls of tape! I've spent some time with them, encouraging them to use some of the glues we have, or even to paper mache over the tape, but very few takers so far.

Now, midway through the year, with many centers going, I can work with the students on some art history and appreciation.

TAB is truly a wonderful teaching method. The kids can create things because THEY want to, not because I (or some other teacher) think they look neat. The energy and excitement in the room during class time is thrilling! I LOVE my job!

Blog Archive

A different approach to art education:

TAB stands for Teaching Artistic Behavior It is a research-backed, student driven method. Kids are taught a new concept, technique, or medium each class period, and then are able to choose what art to make.

The idea is to teach them to work like artists. We talk about how artists get ideas, where they get inspiration, and how they behave.

At the beginning of the year I have to focus extensively on set-up and clean-up routines. I want them to learn to be responsible for their own art experiences.