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

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Start of Year Two - Choice based art@RMS

ART @ RMS- Nan Hathaway, Fine Arts Focus Teacher

”Art use to be a ten, now it’s a thousand.” ~ Tucker
This is the start of our second year offering art in a new way at RMS. Choice based art was piloted last year, so while returning families are familiar with the idea of Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB), I would like to describe the program to newcomers and recount some findings from the first year.

“I felt that I was making something that was my own.” ~ Naomi
Choice – based art education regards the student as artist. The classroom becomes an art studio where artists have the choice of materials and methods to employ to best communicate their ideas. In a choice-based environment, students have control over content, materials and approach. Art created from the meaningful content of student’s lives is authentic and often profound.

“You can have an idea in your head and you can lay it down.” ~ Ethan
Choice –based art education provides resources and opportunities to construct knowledge and meaning in the process of making art. Whole group instruction and demonstration is brief and frequent and covers all of the content expected and desired in a comprehensive art program. Students are exposed to many art concepts and may choose to try something different each week or continue on one piece for an extended period of time. Students are invited to structure time to fit the needs of their learning styles and the work they have chosen to pursue.

“I like it because it’s free. You can think of something you want to do and you can do it for 10 days or you can do it for 1 day, it doesn’t matter.” ~ Nathan

Choosing materials is an important part of the artistic process. Permanent arrangement of materials in centers allows students to plan artworks in advance of art class and return to what they need. Resources of the world of art, past and present, are readily available to students who find connections to their work in reproductions, books, websites and multi-media materials. An evolving, open-ended curriculum fosters a holistic learning process.

“I’m usually thinking: ‘I’m going to do that next art class’. I feel better doing choice art.”
~ Chris
In the choice studio, I am able to interact meaningfully with individual students and small groups. Students can choose to work alone or collaboratively and sometimes coach each other in their area of expertise. Through self evaluations, class discussions, artist statements and one on one student-teacher consultations, young artists assess their work and set direction. I asked students at the end of last year to help me evaluate our success. Should we continue exploring this new approach, or go back to a traditional art program? The quotes featured here are from that lively discussion.

“If we have something on our mind and we don’t have choice based art, it will drive us crazy”
~ Erica

Content taken, in part, from: The Knowledge Loom Website: http://knowledgeloom.org/practices3.jsp?location=1&bpinterid=1357&spotlightid=1357

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