Art Students or Studio Artists? Learning Independence Through Art
Help me give my students an art library replete with inspirational and relevant reference books that will allow them to exercise more choice and discover new media as I guide them toward a student-centered, teacher-facilitated studio environment.
When I was hired to teach art at our Title I school, my principal told me that many of our students' parents and even grandparents had attended that same school. We are situated in a historically rural, farming and railroad community, now a metropolitan suburb near a busy airport. These families work hard to give their children the best chance at success through a well-rounded education. I am proud to play a small role in that effort.
Our school is a rainbow of between 500-600 P-5 learners (86% African-American, 9% Hispanic, 4% Asian) benefiting from art as an integral part of their educations.
With ninety-nine percent free or reduced price lunch recipients, we struggle with the challenges of poverty. Fourteen percent of children in this community are below the line, and our school is host to a growing number of transient housing residents in the district. Nevertheless, all of our students are motivated learners and they love art!
I am thrilled to continue my work of helping our students increase their visual vocabularies, manual dexterity, confidence, goal-setting, cultural awareness and critical and abstract thinking. Your support makes a real and lasting impact!
No child is too young to learn to think for themselves! In 2020, my students will be guided to make independent choices as I transition to a student-centered, teacher-facilitated classroom. In this environment, my students will explore a variety of media and share in deciding what and how and why they will create. They will also learn to examine and expand their decision-making skills as they look at and discuss their work and write artist statements.
To learn and practice independent decision-making while making art that is more personal and meaningful, my students will benefit from a library of reference books to help them design and realize their own individual projects.
For the past few years, I have employed a traditional model in which I, The (ahem) Educator, call all the shots: "We will make THIS, here is how we will do IT, and this is what the END PRODUCT should look like." This is not only uninspired, but it sets many students up for failure. Recently, through research, observations, and discussions with other art teachers, I have grown convinced that my students will be more successful both in process and product through the Teaching for Artistic Behavior model. Backed by current research, this approach promotes differentiation, encourages student choice, and stimulates decision-making, critical thinking, and social emotional learning skills.
For our new, choice-based studio environment, I am requesting several drawing books, including ones that appeal to their interests (Anime, Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z), as well as books with ideas and recipes for origami, clay-modeling, painting, collage, sculpture, recyclable art, textile, and animation. I'm also requesting a three-hole punch for making notebooks for loose reference materials, some small drawers for storing things like beads, stickers, and stamps, and a few other items for our studio centers.
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