Sunday, May 21, 2017

TAB & Seasonal Artwork

One thing that people say they would miss in a TAB classroom is the traditional seasonal projects that students, staff, and families look forward to. I just wanted to share that festive artwork can still come out of choice-based classrooms! 
Last October (yes, I am suuuuuuper behind on blogging) I saw a bag of some cool little pumpkins in the produce section and bought them thinking that some students might be interested. I used the pumpkins for a demo in my 1st grade class, showing how I look at the individual sections instead of drawing a circle, and that observation helps me get the overall form drawn more correctly. I went ahead and reviewed some tempera techniques since students had been asking to paint and then I gave the students the option of taking a break from whatever they had been working on to draw or paint pumpkins or to continue with their own work. All but one student chose to paint a pumpkin. Their grade had recently been on a field trip to a pumpkin patch so there was a lot of excitement. 
I helped distribute requested paint colors and spread out the pumpkins for tables to share and then let students work. Some covered the whole surface of their papers with paint and some were satisfied after practicing the drawing. Some added scenery or turned their pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns and some left the pumpkins simple. The students used a traditional subject for fall art classes, but they chose how to engage with it and were absolutely delighted! I think the moral of the story here is that you don't have to "give up" special things that are important in your school community to TAB. It's about honoring the students as artists- giving them the choice and the voice to do it their way.

Bonus- if you like to incorporate other content areas, I found a great book at our local library that has estimation and counting in it- How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin by Margaret McNamara. If I had more time with the students we could have cut up the pumpkins when we were finished to see how many seeds they have.
I need to remember that there are nice display cases across from the 1st grade classrooms and take advantage of it! My classroom is at the high school so I don't always remember.

One of my friends started using TAB with her youngest students last year. She does a good job of putting out challenges in her centers and she has had some really successful themes! You can see more of what she's up to on her Facebook page or her blog, Ag Wife Artist Life 

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