Summer 2020

Choices

Art teachers take unique approaches to incorporate different levels of choice in their lessons. Students are given the freedom to choose a theme and create mixed-media self-portraits, envision and illustrate their inner positive and negative critics, collect found objects and arrange their own I Spy-inspired compositions, use tape to create murals that evoke a sense of community in a temporary space, and more.

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Highlights From This Issue

Editor's Letter: Choices
Editor's Letter

Editor's Letter: Choices

Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) is an instructional approach developed by Katherine Douglas, Pauling Joseph, John Crowe, and Diane Jaquith. Beginning at the elementary level, it involved setting up a variety of centers in the art room, often based on different media. Students chose the center they wanted and what they wanted to create.

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I Spy an Art Game
Early Childhood

I Spy an Art Game

My pre-kindergarten students love the I Spy books (Scholastic Press) and were excited to jump into a lesson inspired by Walter Wick’s “picture puzzle” photographs from the books. During this lesson, we began each art class by playing the game, using books or images from the books projected on our whiteboard.

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Drawing out Your Inner Critic
Elementary

Drawing out Your Inner Critic

I can’t draw!” “I stink!” A student’s confidence can plummet between fourth and fifth grade. They regurgitate the encouragement that I’ve taught them: “I can’t draw as well as I want to…yet.” But their eyes roll. Their inner critics are formidable. “An inner critic,” I explained to students, “is the voice inside our heads that talks to us when things get difficult.”

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Calder's Circus Redux
Elementary

Calder's Circus Redux

The work of Alexander Calder often proves to be playful in appearance and clever in its construction. These qualities make his small-scale moveable circus, Cirque du Calder, a perfect prompt for an artistic investigation.

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Choice-Based Self-Portraits
Middle School

Choice-Based Self-Portraits

I’ve been teaching students how to draw using a grid for years. Before the current digital age, I showed students how to create a grid on a page protector using a permanent marker so that when the photo is inserted securely, it shows behind the grid. Students would then draw a larger grid on drawing paper, copying it square-bysquare.

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Motif Printmaking
Middle School

Motif Printmaking

Block printing is a form of printmaking in which a carved material is covered in ink and the image is transferred to paper or fabric. While printmaking is a traditional art process, it can be difficult for middle-school students to create an effective design. For this block printing motif lesson, I cut rubber printmaking blocks in half.

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Contemporary Caryatids
High School

Contemporary Caryatids

I‘ve been teaching AP studio art for the past five years and have spent as much time mulling over what to do in my art room after the portfolios are submitted in early May. Since students’ Capstone projects consist of the fifteen artworks they made for AP, it’s difficult to motivate them to do even just one more piece.

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Amplifying Community
High School

Amplifying Community

I’m someone who thrives on change, but when I adopted a choice-based TAB (Teaching for Artistic Behavior) classroom ten years ago, I never looked back. I practice TAB in my high-school classroom because of the deep engagement I see from my students—an engagement that comes from the flexibility to use their own ideas to create, making work that they decide is important. Nowhere is this more apparent than when my students create public art.

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The Media Fair
Managing the Art Room

The Media Fair

Introducing different media to students can be a catch-22. Ultimately, we want students to be able to select their own medium, but we’ve traditionally introduced students to new media through the creation of projects. We might give a colored pencil project to introduce that medium. Next, we might offer a watercolor project to introduce that medium.

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Accumulate Presence
Looking & Learning

Accumulate Presence

Amanda McCavour is a Toronto-based artist who creates large-scale installations through a mixture of embroidery, installation, and 3D thread pieces. Her work defies every preconceived notion of sewing, embroidery, and even sculpture. She is interested in redefining the assumption that thread is a delicate medium and exploring the 2- and 3D possibilities of line in her artworks.

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