A place to see what is happening in Fine Arts at Rocky Mountain School for the Gifted and Creative

Friday, November 12, 2004

Starting a Choice Based Art Program

What’s New in the Art Room?

“Art this year is going to be much more fun, because we get to do what we want and be really creative”. – Student in Mrs. C’s class

“I have a sore throat, and I only came to school because today is art” – Student in Nancy’s class.

Moving to our beautiful new school, and finally having a real art room has facilitated a fresh approach in the fine arts program. Students this year are enjoying new freedom, greater accessibility to materials and increased responsibility for their own art making.
Recent research in the field stresses the importance of relevance, meaning and ownership in the creative process. Students are being asked to approach art making in a new way, and are more motivated and engaged than I have ever seen.
In the art room, students are treated as artists and offered authentic choices for responding to their own ideas and interests. Students make choices about what materials to use to express their idea, set up their materials and space, and are responsible for cleaning up and putting things away. Students generate ideas, overcome obstacles and set- backs, and choose to work alone or with peers. Students are expected to reflect on and discuss their finished work. This is the authentic work of real artists.
The introduction of new concepts, techniques, art history, contemporary topics and multi-cultural arts are delivered in short sessions at the start of each class. Students are then invited to further investigate the new concept, or move to various other“centers” in the room to pursue their current interest. Centers include tools, materials and instructions as well as resources and art reproductions. Students have the opportunity to concentrate in one area, becoming “expert” with a particular material or method. They may repeat a process or revisit an idea, in effect working in series to produce a “suite” of related work. Or, students may choose to move between several centers in a single art period, sampling a variety of opportunities. Students are asked to consider ways to reach in a project, finding deeper meaning, greater competence and improved skill. Content and resources can be targeted to individuals and small groups in response to current activities. Students are encouraged to evaluate their efforts, and describe their work to others.
Moving toward a choice-based program empowers students to take greater control of their learning, to find and communicate personal meaning through art and have the freedom to explore their own ideas and passions. A choice based art program honors and empowers the student as artist, nurturing and protecting qualities that lead toward inquisitive, confident, inventive, tolerant, capable human beings.
- Nan

TAB(Teaching for Artistic Behavior)Website: http://knowledgeloom.org/tab/index.jsp
The Case for Constructivist Classrooms –Jacqueline Grennon Brooks, Martin G Brooks
The Art of Teaching Art to Children - Nancy Beal
No More Second Hand Art: Awakening the Artist Within – Peter London

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