I have the privilege of working with over 200 students in grades 7 and 8. Our district spans a long section of the Rust Belt and includes a diverse population of students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. In fact, the majority of our students qualify for free/reduced lunch.
The hardest part of my job is getting to know the various struggles my students have to face on a daily basis; the best part of my job is being able to provide them with a loving learning environment and a source of creative expression.
Each of my students makes the choice to enroll in art and can take up to three art classes of increasing difficulty. What I have noticed is that many of my students have grown up learning to turn to art as a form of expression, therapy, and entertainment in their personal lives when little else was available. As a result, I have extremely passionate and talented artists in my room! Yet these masterpieces are often completed on notebook paper with broken pencils. I love having the opportunity to expose my students to new techniques and materials which will constantly challenge their already developed skills.
The best moments in our art room are when students take a creative approach outside of the given directions. This is when projects stand out and students excel. These moments have inspired me to transform my classroom using a choice-based approach, sometimes referred to as “Teaching for Artistic Behavior.” This educational concept enables students to experience working like an artist through authentic learning opportunities. In this approach, students must rely on problem-solving skills to master new materials and methods of creating art. Students are able to express themselves and have more input in the artistic problems they solve during each project.
The key to setting up a choice-based classroom is organization!
In order to have all students working with a variety of materials, supplies need to be highly organized.
The donations from this project will purchase modular cubes that can be arranged in countless ways. Each table will be equipped with a set of cubes so that supplies are within easy reach at all times. Cubes will also be used to create stations around the room. For example, there will be stations for printmaking, sculpture, clay, watercolor, paint, drawing, etc. Students will be able to choose a station based on how they intend to approach each lesson. With the cubes, students will be able to easily access any material at any time and return the materials safely. Please help us reorganize our classroom!
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