I participate in artsonia. I love it. I think it is a great communication tool between home and school and it's a great place to advocate for your program. A fringe benefit is that it kicks back some of its profits to your school's art program. In the past I've used the profits to supplement my supply budget or bought a "wish list" item. I'm at a school now that has a very fair budget and I'm fortunate enough to have the means to purchase the things I need to teach. I know that this is not the case everywhere and I'm fortunate to teach in a community that supports the arts.
This year, I wanted to do something different with our artsonia profits, rather than supplement our budget. So this year, instead we we will be purchasing a piece of art to start our very own modern art collection for our elementary school.
I don't run a TAB art room. However, this summer I read up about teaching for artistic behavior and found that I really like the mentality of the program and agree with many components of the model. I'm still working through the information and formulating thoughts on how TAB might work into my curriculum and program but in my quest for knowledge I joined the 'Midwest TAB-Choice Art Teachers' facebook group. I've stumbled upon many an interesting discussion and learned a lot about TAB through posts on the Facebook group page but one discussion in particular really inspired me to do things a little differently this year.
I've been working on mapping out my year and expanding my curriculum for awhile but I'm really excited to tackle art history in particular with a more complete, organized, and fun angle this year.
I liked the idea of covering the span of art history (or at least the highlights) over the entire kinder-fifth grade experience, rather than trying to tackle the entire thing each year. I thought this would lead to a more thorough and complete picture for kids as well as a good way for me to stay organized. What do you all do to touch upon art history in the elementary school? What is missing from my map?
I'm sure you've seen this gem of a lesson (pictured below) floating around pinterest and artsonia alike. It's a great two point perspective lesson that leaves loads of freedom for students to be creative, innovative, and confident about pulling together the principles of art and design. Kids loved drawing them and showing them off to friends and family. But the most valuable thing that my fifth grade students took away from this lesson was learning to take a step back from their drawing and viewing it from a far. They learned to silently contemplate their drawing as they looked for their focal point, range of values, use of color, and overall craftsmanship.
I was proud to see my students get up periodically to stick their picture to the board, take a few steps back and stare with squinty eyes for a couple moments before sitting back down and silently getting to work. They were artists working on their craft in a creative studio environment and I was there available for trouble shooting and critique. It felt great to have students take such control of their artwork and see artists bursting with pride at the end.
Years ago, when I first started teaching, I was sooooo excited to get a plan book. I wanted to fulfill those childhood games of playing teacher with a brand spanking new, beautifully organized plan book ... something that I would carry around and look very official. Well, that beautiful, organized, cool looking plan book didn't exist in art - at least not that I could find. So, I made my own. I created a pages document based specifically on my school schedule. The look of it changes slightly every year due to the amount of classes I'm teaching and my design preferences but below you'll find a few examples to get the idea.
I don't know about you but I drop a lot of money in the beginning of the school year. My most frequent places to go are the dollar store and IKEA. The new IKEA catalog was just delivered to my house and the following items are on my top ten wish list. I won't purchase all of them, not enough coin, but I will look wistfully at them and perhaps purchase a few. What items are on your wish list this season?
I'm not sure why it took me so long to establish the practice of large group, community projects but it has. Last year I have made a vow to provide more opportunities for students to work together on community projects. I think this is positive in a number of ways; it provides a good problem solving experience for kids, it is fantastic PR for the art program, and it's great fun.