While there are many things I love about teaching Art at Courtenay, I feel especially grateful for the time I get to spend with our Diverse Learner population. Did you know over 30% of Courtenay students are diverse learners? I love that our school community works hard to meet all students exactly where they are at. Diverse Learners attend art and other classes with their grade level peers each week, however there is one group I have the privilege to work with more closely. During this small group time we are able to work on more sensory and fine motor focused projects. Above are three torn and cut paper fall tress and one robot, because tearing a paper tree was not meeting that students needs for the day but making a cool robot was! I want to encourage all students to make art they are excited about and engaged in, as a result some students complete the project, others complete their own. This independent project model is also my favorite thing about teaching TAB, or choice based art.
Middle school students were introduced to the 8 Studio Habits with short little mini projects that focused on each concept. Think of these as warm ups, or sketches. Each student had 8-10 minutes to complete the activity for each Studio Habit, then we rotated the materials around the room so each student completed 4 challenges/ sketches total. We began with just 4 of the Studio Habits, envision, stretch and explore, observe, and develop craft. Later in the year we will try challenges related to the rest of the studio habits. This was a fun way to get our brains warmed up for art, and also a really tangible way to practice using some of the 8 Studio Habits. Most of the sketches were quite funny and had many tables laughing at their creations. For the 'stretch and explore' challenge students had to select a word or phrase from a bucket and then make it with only the (strange) items in their table bin. I was really impressed with how all the creative ways students used the materials- The first and second photograph are pieces from this challenge, one is a candy corn and the other is a shish kabob. For the 'envision' challenge students had to select a verb and a noun from the bucket then turn it into a sketch. This challenge resulted in some hilarious sketches- in the image above the student selected jump and IHop and the result was an IHop jumping rope.
Students across grade levels 1-3 completed a collage challenge to explore tools and media in the collage center. Students were instructed to create a collage that transformed scrap paper and incorporated drawing.
Top Row L-R
-Monster wearing a sweater
-Thomas the train
Middle Row L-R
-This student tried to cut out a heart and realized he accidentally made a letter "I" so he continued to freehand cut letters
-Monsters taking over a city
Bottom Row L-R
-Haunted house with working door
-A fox with Elvis hair and a perfume bottle dressed as a cat for Hallowen
- A Ninja Turtle tunnel
3rd-5th grade students were given a drawing challenge sheet where they needed to use each material in the Drawing Studio. Some students drew directly onto the sheet and others used it as a guide to create mixed media drawings.
L to R
- Student used chalk to show movement, he told me the chalk made his flash character look "fast" I couldn't agree more!
-Student drew a landscape using a different medium for each part of the landscape
-Student used scraps and mixed media to create a ship in the Arctic
We kicked off the school year with a few collaborative drawing games. Each student drew a head, then folded and passed their paper to their neighbor, who drew the torso, folded and passed to their neighbor who then drew the legs. The result was a crazy imaginary character, and a lot of laughter. Students then turned their characters into a finished piece of artwork by creating backgrounds and stories about their characters. Grades 3-8 tried their hand a collaborative drawing while exploring Drawing Studio tools and media. Both images here are from 5th grade students.
Last spring I spent many days observing art classes at our neighbor school, Ravenswood Elementary. Catherine “Ms. Kitty” Conde has been a Visual Arts instructor for over 20 years and contributed to Studio Thinking, by Lois Hetland, my main inspiration for changing Courtenay Language Arts Visual Arts program to choice based art. She encouraged me to try this project in my own classroom.
Here second grade students were asked to transform a cylinder. Before students could begin constructing, they used an "envision sheet" to plan their project. This project was wildly successful, my second graders talked about this project for the rest of the school year! I knew I was ready to implement choice based art in the coming school year.