We are a few weeks away from finishing the 1st semester at Quist. So far it has been an amazing journey where I have made some great connections with my students. The majority of them have embraced the TAB philosophy full hearted. However, there are a few changes that need to take place to help next semesters students reach a higher level of success.
Artistic Thinking Process and SHoM
I feel that I missed the mark on strongly implementing the Artistic Thinking Process and the Studio Habits of Mind from the start. Students are able to demonstrate both the ATP and the SHoM but lack the ability to communicate with the appropriate vocabulary where they are in the process. I would like to see students engage further in the development and reflection stages of the ATP as well as increase their ability to engage and persist through their work. I’m going to start off the quarter with an ATP project and then follow it with a project revolving around the SHoM. What those are I am not sure of at the moment but I do feel that they are needed.
Bootcamps went fairly well this semester. I will continue to keep them on a three week cycle. All techniques for Sculpture, Drawing, Printmaking, and Digital will be covered in the first week of their perspective bootcamps. Students will then apply their understanding over the second and third weeks by creating a project to demonstrate their understanding.
Replacing Artistic Bank Account
Towards the end of second quarter I had a few students say “Mr. Beach I’m out of ideas.” At the start of the semester students created an artistic bank account for students to pull ideas from but that turned to be a flop. Students did not see the benefits of it at the start and therefore did not take it seriously. Students now do not have a bank account built up enough to draw ideas from. Ian Sans developed The 9’s and The Table as project ideas to help those in need of ideas. I feel that these may be a better solution to students running out of ideas. Currently I have adapted his drawing 9’s to fit the needs of my students. I am currently developing my own set for printmaking, sculpture, and digital art.
Reflections are all over the map this quarter and not where I would like them to be. I am going to use the following to help alleviate any issues or confusion.
After posting to SeeSaw , when writing your caption, answer any two of the questions below:
I need to be more diligent on badge handouts.
This needs to take place from the start. Trying to implement them mid semester was rough. Setting up the expectations from the start will set them up for success and will help with accountability.
The start of the year we did a great job of warming up by completing a critical analysis of contemporary and historical artists. I moved away from them as the semester unfolded in sake of giving my students more work time. In the end this backfired. I need to make sure that students have these warm-ups each day as it is it is to hard to get students attention on daily announcements if I set them straight off to work.
I feel that when offering choice to students, working large right off the bat can be intimidating and they lose momentum on their work early. The loss of momentum results in lack luster final projects. By having students work smaller, I hope to overcome their initial paralysis while encouraging them to engage and persist through the entire project. I am thinking that 5x7 will be a good starting point.
I am sure that I will need to adjust to the needs of my new students second semester but I feel that making these changes upfront will put all of us in a good starting position. Here’s to second semester!
As TAB teachers we are constantly empowering our students to take ownership of their learning. We give them the freedom to research, explore, and develop their ideas in their classroom. We provide them the space an structure to follow the artistic process. Most of us still provide our students with demos to help them grow as artists. In my experience these demos have been very teacher directed. Over the years I have started to question this approach and wondered how I can further involve my students in this process.
After teaching paper sculpture techniques for the 100th time an idea clicked. What if I have my students discover the processes and techniques that I wanted them to learn?
After shifting this demo and many others to demos based off of discovery I found that more students were actively engaged and that they had a deeper understanding of the process.
Here is a link to several of those challenges that I have found online or created myself.
Often times teachers mistakenly use TAB and Choice interchangeably. There is a huge difference between the two and we need to be cautious with our language. I have been guilty of this especially when I was first starting my transition from teacher directed to student directed. The TAB philosophy is growing in popularity but often I see posts that use it as a catchphrase or may miss the main points of TAB.
True TAB revolves around the three sentence curriculum.
In a TAB classroom. Students are provided the space, techniques, and media to let their ideas flourish. Structures are set up to allow the students be successful and take ownership in their learning but the ideas and work come directly from the students.
A choice based curriculum will give students a wide variety of choices but often there is still a strong teacher voice. Teachers may suggest themes, provide prompts, or have students work in specific media or with specific techniques. The amount of choice that the teacher provides my fluctuate from minimal choice to full choice.
As we post and talk about our classrooms keep in mind the language that we use and how it will be viewed to new TAB teachers. We need to make sure that we are not spreading misconceptions to our colleagues.
It’s my favorite time of year...art teachers all across facebook start posting cultural appropriated lessons. Sugar skulls and Day of the Dead projects are running rampid. As we slide into November Native American projects will start to pop up. Most of the time these projects come from and are taught to people so far removed from the original culture. True depth and appreciation for the culture is skipped in sake of time. Am I advocating that we do not teach this history of other cultures? No, we can talk about a culture. We can study that culture. We can appreciate their process. Ask yourself, Is the replication of art from that culture necessary? I would say no. Skills and techniques that would be gained from that project can be introduced through other forms and processes. As teachers we need to make sure that we are teaching our students to respect the cultures and symbols of those across the world.
I love this video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZT1sTYpOJ04
Poor behavior in our classes can be a challenging area for every teacher. Social media, instant gratification culture, and negativity in all forms of media are a few factors that are frequently thrown out there as root causes for poor behavior in our classes. I want to challenge these assumptions. Middle school students have always pushed boundaries despite what is going on in the world around them. Their brains are developing and they have a constant need for for that dopamine rush. Alongside that need for dopamine middle school students what to know that you care and that their ideas matter.
Sitting in on intervention team meetings I often hear stories about struggling students that soar in my class. I do not claim that all of my students are perfect every day. I have my struggles. There are students that require extra care, redirection and attention daily. There are students that drive me up the wall frequently. However,I did notice a decrease in the amount of behavior challenges I faced with students when I shifted my educational philosophy.
As art teachers and specifically TAB teachers we have that ability to reach our students minds through their hearts. Discipline-based art education (DBAE) focuses on aesthetics, art criticism, art history and art production. While this approach has its merits it often lacks buy-in from our students. When we restrict and limit choice in our program our students are going to push back. When we make all of the ideas and decisions we are telling our students that their ideas don’t matter.
As a TAB teacher, I have had non TAB teachers push back with statements such as: “My project has choice. They get to chose the media or color scheme.”, or “Any time I give them choice they ruin it.” or “My students can’t make positive choices when I tell them what to do. Why would they make good choices on their own?” I understand that relinquishing control can be a scary process however, we need to trust our students. We need to show them that their ideas are valid. True learning takes place in the decision making. If we are the ones making all of the choices we are robbing our students of their learning. Providing choices and giving our students freedom does not mean creating a free-for-all chaotic environment. As teachers we can provide structure without removing choices.
Teaching students and structuring our curriculum around the 8 Studio Habits of Mind (Lois Hetland, Ellen Winner, Shirley Veenema, Kimberly Sheridan, Diane Jacquith, and Jill Hogan, 2007) and the Artistic Thinking Process (Melissa Purtee) shows our middle school students that they are valued. It opens lines of communication between us and our students. I know my students better than I ever could have under a DBAE approach. Shifting from creating projects to creating artists changed my life dramatically. Students that were once behavior issues began to find success as well as their own artistic voice. Students that were checked out from school found a space where they could truly and safely express themselves. I’ve been able to reach the reluctant student that was placed into art because he had an ACL tear and could no longer participate in PE, even though Art was the last place he wanted to be. I’ve had students that were eagerly looking forward to dropping out of school develop a passion for art and see art school as a post high school option. These relationships were strengthened and were possible because of the shift in my teaching philosophy.
Understanding and reaching the hearts and minds of our students is a powerful tool that can squash almost any behavior issue. Teaching for Artistic Behavior doesn’t require any special tools, a huge budget, or small class sizes. It does require a huge amount of research and willingness to meet students at their level. Teaching art is exhausting but can be so incredibly rewarding, when we take a deep look into all aspects of our students.
1st quarter recap
Wow! I have reached the end of my 1st quarter at Quist. This time last year we would have been wrapping up the quarter and I would have been preparing for a new batch of kids. This year art is a semester long course and I could not be more thankful. Most of my students came into my class never experiencing a Teaching for Artistic Behavior classroom. The large amount of choice has been a struggle for a few of my students but we are finding our way. Having our learning extend into two quarters should help all of my students find success.
This quarter we have covered drawing, painting, sculpture, computer graphic, and printmaking techniques. Students applied their learning to individualized projects and many have gone above and beyond my expectation. Students have begun to understand the Artistic Thinking Process as well as the 8 Studio Habits of Mind.
As we progress into the 2nd quarter students will take their knowledge from first quarter and transfer it into their own learning goals that span a two week time frame. Through this process students will find inspiration, develop an idea, see that idea through creation, while reflecting on their entire process. Students will be completing daily reflection entries into their own learning logs. Learning logs may take shape in SeeSaw, a Google Doc, or by creating their own website/blog.
Leaving my students at my previous school was difficult. There were many that still needed my support and I hope that they have found that this year. That being said, I have made some amazing connections to some amazing students and I know that Quist is where I need to be. The joy of being an elective/exploritories teacher is that I get to see these students develop over the course of several years. I look forward to 2nd quarter and all that it brings.
Over the past few weeks we have been exploring the Artistic Think Process (ATP). A huge part of the ATP is reflection and I asked my students to complete a self reflection on their work up to this point. Students reflected on the following artistic behaviors:
*Artists Create Original Art
*Artists Develop Skills
*Artists Take Risks
*Artists Solve Problems
*Artist Use Personal Voice
Overall the students self-evaluations were where I'd expect them to be at this point of the year. There were a few outliers that I would have adjusted their grades up or down a bit if I was the one evaluating their work.
We have started a new way to document our learning at Quist, web design! Through https://www.bulbapp.com/ we attempted to create websites as a way to share our artistic process. Overall it was a bit of a hot mess and will require some reteaching tomorrow. Students that got it got it. Several students made their pages but didn’t publish correctly. Some published but did not share the correct link. I keep forgetting that 1:1 is new to most of Quist students and that the lack a background in technology. We will get there.
This year marks the beginning of my 13th year of teaching and third school. I am so humbled to have been chosen as the Rodger Quist Middle School art teacher. Our school is so new that we just officially broke ground last week. While RQMS is being built we are currently housed out of Riverdale Ridge High School across the streetl. TAB and student choice is new to the majority of students at RQMS but many of them have already started to RISE and ROAR.
We have completed our drawing bootcamp and some amazing work has come out of it. I am so impressed by these students.
Follow us on Instagram @art_with_mr.beach
Mr. Kelly Beach
As an art teacher, it is my goal that every student will leave my classroom with transferable skills that will allow them to be successful in whatever career path they choose. It is my mission to teach students to make careful observations of the world around them, find problems that need to be solved, envision a solution, and engage and persist through the problem solving process while constantly reflecting on their work and progress. Students are enabled to embrace their strengths and interests while sharing their own skills and ideas with their classmates. Through a Teaching for Artistic Behavior process, students embrace leadership positions and become teachers themselves. I feel that it is my job to encourage students to take risks, step outside of their comfort zone, explore new possibilities, and express their individual view of the world through the art making process.