Monday, October 24, 2011

"He's a duck, and that's his house."

"It's my mom, and she's happy."

"I just found all the orange things and glued them on to the pumpkin I drew."

"This is a yarn girl, and here's her house, and her pets!"

I absolutely LOVE this piece. Three first graders spent the better part of an hour working on this, then proudly showed it to me, "This is a dragon. Here's the wings, and there's the tail, here's his head, and there's fire coming out!"
Fiber Arts
Thanks to some generous parent donations, we've got plenty of fabric to create pillows, bags, stuffies, and more.

"This is a pillow for my bear, so he can be comfy."

"It's a purse with a pocket. I'm going to make one for my sister next."

"The fabric wasn't big enough, so I sewed pieces together to make a big pillow."

"This is a purse for my sister. She loves putting things in bags! It has lining and pockets inside. It took a while to make, about three art days."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spooky Art

"This is a spooky race car track. And a ghost is trying to knock some of the cars out. And the fence shoots out bomb ghostes. And the haunted house has ghosts trying to knock the people out of the cars. I made it with paper and glue. It was hard to make the haunted house stand up."

"It's halloween night, that's why it's black."

"It's Frankenstein, I used crayons and watercolor."

"This is a haunted house, but it's not too scary!"

"The skeleton is wearing a hat and he's knocking on the door."

"It's my halloween book!"

"These are two skeletons, playing basketball, one is red, for the U[niversity of Utah] and one is blue for BYU."

This is a sampling of some kindergartner's chalk pastel drawings.

"She's a girl monster, and she's pretty!"

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

"It's a cat, only she's lots of different colors!"

created at the collage center

"It's a apron for my sister's barbie, I sewed it, but then I glued on the pocket. She's going to be happy that I made it for her."

"Look teacher! It's a street that curves, and there are cars there, too!"

"Those birds are happy. And it's raining."

"Well, I saw this material and I glued it to be dresses."

"This took me two whole art times! But it's a purse and I can use it all the time now!"

"Well, this is just the paper towel that we were using with the watercolors. And then I found shapes on it, and look: these are seals and baby seals, and clouds. And this is their house."

"I just was drawing, it's a zipline, and it's fun, 'cause you go real fast."

"It was so hard to make the house glue together like that. And there's some glue on the outside, but it's okay, right? Because you told me that when it dries it will be see through. And then I drew the other houses on the street."
Appreciating children's artwork
"These are pandas, and they have on hats! That one is hanging upside down, from the bars."

It can be difficult for adults (including myself) to appreciate the seemingly random art pieces children create when they are self-directed. We are accustomed to seeing adult-driven art projects assembled by children. But we must not confuse the two distinct activities. Adult-driven projects are fine, in fact, they help children learn to follow directions, and the results can be quite charming, and pleasing to our adult eyes.

The child-created pieces, though, those are my favorite. The younger children, especially, are not burdened with the self-criticism of the older, wiser (?) kids. These younger kids create with purpose, with vision, with joy. 
"It's a rocket ship, see? That is the space where the guy, the driver, you know, the space guy sits. And over here is an escape hatch, so he can get a way quick. These things are the drivers for it."

"It's a tower, like Rapunzel's"

"This is a farm! That's me, and that's my mom, or maybe my grandma. Anyway, we're at a farm together, you know the kind with a red building where the chickens live. In kindergarten, I got to see a real farm!"

"Okay, so I made this doghouse, and it was hard to make this part stay up. And look! The dog's looking out the window, but if you turn it around, you can see the back of him through the other window. Only, this doghouse is too small for a real dog, unless it was teeny teeny tiny. Once, I saw a lady at a store, and she had a dog that could fit in her purse! 'cept I think that this is smaller than her purse. But! I have a toy dog that can fit in this little house."

"Ha ha. This is funny, know why? Look, there's a picture of a baby's head right there. So, this is like a big tall guy, only he has a little baby head. Yeah, that makes me laugh."

"Oh, okay, so first I was drawing shapes, like we were talking 'bout today. I drew rectangles, and then those triangles, and I used different colors too. And now, it looks like a castle, almost! But maybe it's a big house. I seen big houses before, have you teacher? Yeah, those live up in the mountains, those houses. No, I think this is a castle, and I can live there and be the king and fight the bad guys. Nope! No girls in this castles, or princesses just boys [talking to the cluster of girls gathered round to admire his castle] 'cept my mom, and maybe my sister. My grandma could come to visit too. But NO OTHER GIRLS!"

"I'm just cutting lots of shapes, and making a design with them."

Monday, October 03, 2011

These first graders were happily gluing for the entire hour!

"It was hard to make the yarn stick, so I pushed it down hard. And that's a picture of a watch like my uncle wears. The pink yarn is part of the dragonfly's tail, and the other yarn is to hang up the picture in my room."

"I used a hole punch, well, different hole punches. A regular one, and then ones that did shapes."

"This is the street, and the green things are houses. I live there, and I put my friend's house next door. 'Cept she doesn't really live next door, I just pretended. And these green poofyish things are the trees."

"I glued, and cut, and I drawed on stuff too."

"Look teacher! I made it stand up!"

"Okay, well, this is a boat, and it's supposed to go on the river, but then a bad guy tooked it away. So then, I made it so the good guys could get it back, 'cause there's a secret tunnel to it."

"I used the pastels to draw pictures of flowers, then I glued them on this paper. This orange paper is like the sun."

About Me

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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.