I really love seeing all the evolutions by students create from the choices they make in the art studio. Offering choice through themes and artistic targets allows my students the opportunity to select areas of interest, materials to explore, and levels of inquiry. I have witnessed students repeating the motif, materials, or theme to dig deeper and improve skills. When the lesson was teacher directed, my students did very little connected thinking from one piece to the other, and often didn’t get another opportunity to explore the media a second time. Now, I have students perfecting designs, experimenting, and pushing all kinds of possibilities.
I’m loving how independently my students find their supplies and move forward on their art work. My students ask very good questions about the work such as “why are you doing that?, “why are you using that?”, “what does this mean?”. My students expect the artist to know why you are creating, what is the purpose, and is it original.
I am excited about the possibilities of seeing my youngest students evolve within the choice based art program. I have seen an increase in application of their knowledge that they researched to achieve goals they set for themselves to complete an artistic target. In one semester the growth in student independence and initiative has grown. The confidence to speak to the class about their ideas and possible creative solutions is gaining strength. I’ve noticed an ease in which my students now preform tasks in the studio that required so much direction and set up; to a simple rhythm in the space. In other academic areas my colleagues have noticed the cross-over and blending of our curricular areas merging them closer together. This merger is being promoted not by me but my students. My students are experiencing, seeing, and talking about the connections. The importance in offering choice and self-directed learning is beginning to take hold.
The school year is quickly coming to a close and it will be time to celebrate all of our accomplishments. We have done very well this year, claiming many awards, scholarships, and accolades. I am most content in seeing my students happily working independently, caught up in deep thought, and working through a task they designed. I love that several of my students have embraced an entrepreneural spirit, when thinking about their art. They have taken to setting up websites and controlling their own social media brand showcasing their style of art. I could not be more excited for the possibilities of this new found digital platform control, mixed with an ambition, expressing their voice, sharing their ideas/passions, balanced with a creative drive…..there is not stopping them. Art can change the world to be so much better.
I believe it.