I really don’t mind when a grading period comes to a close. It let’s my students and me look back and reflect on what have we accomplished and what can we build on for improvement. Grading…. Yes it is not a favorite of mine but a necessary existence for all educators. I follow and comment on several Facebook pages and Twitter Feeds about art education. I read my favorite blogs about the adventures my fellow art teachers are doing in all kinds of schools at all levels. I find this helpful to keep my situation in perspective. I learn some new concepts and get inspired all the time. I am as much an artist and an art educator. I am also evolving into a community builder of sorts too.
Topics of note for me is the whole business of TAB VS Traditional classrooms. I have discovered that I am a modified TAB educator with a unique story about what I do, how I do it, and whom I teach. My situation is not similar to many of the educators that I follow so I do take parts and pieces of what will work in my environment and try to adapt it to my studio.
My first experiment is with my Painting II class. I am opening up full choice for the next assignment but of course it needs to be a painting. What surface, motif, style, and type of paint are up to the individual artist? I have a handout for the art student to document their ideas and I also ask that they research for some inspirational pieces so I can have a greater grasp of what they are striving to accomplish. I have different responses from each student. One student had an idea before I had time to complete my explanation, while a couple of other students struggled for direction. I even had one student ask me to assign him a project. My next effort to open up full choice is with my Printmaking class. I spent the first quarter having them learn and create works of art based on specific prints, inks, styles, and themes. Now, after we complete our etching print, I will have students complete a print series on one or more of the printmaking processes of the artist’s choice. I can offer themes but I am leaving most of the decisions up to the students. So since I am in the early stages of this process, I can only share that I am out of my comfort zone. I find myself needing to give more direction and keep the students on forward momentum. I do feel too much time is spent with students in free fall or thought. I view it as inefficient use of studio time and I want to see more progress.
I am going to give it a whirl but I already know I have some “twitching” that causes me stress. I am always trying to do a better job and to support my students where they are and to move them to new levels. I have been successful most of the time so I am keeping an open mind about my efforts with TAB.
Next month, I am presenting at our State Art Educators Conference. I have presented at the National Art Convention so I am not too worried about it but I am still creating my presentation. My presentation idea was created based on some of the information I read on the art teachers groups and blogs. I am presenting on successful beginning of the year or semester assessment lessons, icebreakers to reinforce class rules, and ways to improve class communications. I am sifting through my best warm-ups and modifying them for the presentation. I need to create a creative and helpful handout to pass out, plus prep materials to successfully present. Fingers crossed.
Positive Art News this quarter- my art students sold Homes for Haiti at a street festival and raised over $700.00 for Haiti. We got another venue to sell during the Christmas season and the Public Library will be adopting Homes for Haiti for all the teen and tween groups. The more people involved means more impact for Haiti. Win, Win! We also have three outdoor downtown murals waiting for approval and gearing up for our recycle fashion show- Curbside Couture. I tell you it is never a dull moment. I am feeling much better and looking forward to the last half of this semester.