Name: Mara Christine
School(s): Indian Run Elementary, Dublin City Schools
Grade Levels: 1st - 5th. I see 6 classes per day on a 4 day rotation. My students come from all over the world - we have something like 27 home languages other than English - and we have quite a few students that enroll throughout the year, as well as withdraw. I just have an experienced TAB student give the new student a tour, check in on them a few times, and they are off and running usually!
Where do you fall on the choice spectrum? I am full TAB!
How many years have you been teaching TAB/Choice?
This is my 3rd year of full TAB, and my 10th year here at IRE.
I realized that I was teaching art projects, and not creativity. It took me about 5 years from the time I started questioning my teaching approach to switch to TAB - and I think that’s okay! In the meantime, I thought and read and talked to other teachers. It’s a big shift to make, and a little scary! Would my administration support it? (Yes. They are awesome.) Would parents object to the lack of ‘art product’? (I haven’t heard any major complaints. But I also took the step of inviting the PTO Board in for a demo/mini-lesson of TAB!) Would students respond? (YES!) TAB reinvigorated my teaching practice and made it so much more joyful. There are still plenty of challenges - the biggest being getting students to STOP working when it’s time to clean up. There are so many more things I want to do: new challenges and improvements to make every day/week/month/year. I love it.
Do you have your own room, share a room, or travel?
I feel really lucky to have my own fabulous room with lots of storage and 3 sinks! There’s never really enough room for any art teacher though, so I spend a decent amount of time reorganizing and rethinking cabinets every year..
What advice would you give someone transitioning to TAB/Choice?
LABEL EVERYTHING!! I’m pretty obsessive about color-coding, so each of my centers has a color, and every label with that center has that color border. I’d like to go back and start adding more pictures to my labels now - the studio is a constant work in progress.
The other important thing is to be kind to yourself. I have a tendency to just see all the things I’m NOT doing as well as I want to, and not necessarily the things that are working smoothly. It takes time to transition the studio, the students, and yourself to a new way of working and thinking!
Name: Megan Newton
School: Miamisburg High School
Grade Levels: 9-12
Where do you fall on the choice spectrum? Modified to full choice.Since coming to high school, I have found that modified choice works best for lower level classes and upper level students seem to excel with full choice. I really like the formula of either the teacher choosing the theme and the students get choice of media or vice versa where the students can choose their theme but the teacher chooses the material(s).
How many years have you been teaching TAB/Choice? I was full TAB at the middle school level for 6 years. This is my second year being more modified choice at the high school level.
Your why? I got tired of going to student art shows and seeing cookie cutter projects, where everyone creates the same thing. Hundreds of individual students with unique interests and passions were reduced down to the exact same sunflower - centered, blue background, with a thick black contour line.
It made me sad that so many students had to conform to what the teacher wanted out of their art. What really blew me away is when teachers would talk about how they’re providing ample opportunity for students to be creative but yet they still did cookie cutter projects.
I do credit OTES for pushing me to go full TAB and it all started because I struggled with the differentiation aspect of the rubric. How can I show differentiation if every student is creating the exact same art piece? It was then, I realized how much I used to limit the students’ artistic voices.
Since I’ve switched my mindset to TAB, I will never go back. The positive feedback I get from students is what keeps me going. I love the fact that I get to know my students on a much more authentic level. I love that I can celebrate where students are individually, not compare their skill level to their peers.
Do you have your own room, share a room, or travel? I have my own room
What advice would you give someone transitioning to TAB/Choice?
Do NOT go full TAB all at once. Make the most simple choices at first to get comfortable. Try giving them the choice of either pencil or colored pencil. Use the entire summer to switch your classroom over because you will have to rearrange your physical environment plus make mental shifts as well. Also, follow ALL the Facebook groups for Teaching Artistic Behavior! So much VALUABLE information on these pages!
Name: Abby Hanser
School(s): Berry Intermediate School, Lebanon City Schools, Lebanon, Ohio
Grade Levels: 5th and 6th. I see my students once a week for 40 minutes all year.
Where do you fall on the choice spectrum? My classroom consists of 7 studios: drawing, collage, painting, sculpture, fibers, digital art and ceramics. We spend the first quarter of the year doing skill practice (Around the Room activities) for drawing, collage, painting and sculpture as we open each studio. Ceramics is a temporary studio (until the clay runs out). Students can choose from any of these studios. 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarter, class starts out with a mini-lesson and the students have time to work in the studio of their choice. I give themed assignments each quarter and the students can choose the studio to complete the assignment.
How many years have you been teaching TAB/Choice? I have been teaching over-all for 23 years and I have been using the TAB approach for the last three.
Your why? When I learned about Choice/TAB I didn’t want to touch it with a ten foot pole! But the more I learned about it the more I started to feel that it was for my students and my students were ready to learn art in this way. They were already trying to do things in my classes that were more student-directed. So I learned as much as possible by reading, joining social media groups dedicated to Choice/TAB and observing other teachers. I began the year three years ago with a buffet style set-up to ease into more independence for my students and then after Thanksgiving I switched to studios.
Do you have your own room, share a room, or travel? I am pretty lucky in that I have my own room and our building was recently remodeled. I call my classroom the “Limousine of Classrooms” because it has pretty much all I could ask for in an art room. However, if you were not granted with a “Limousine of Classrooms” this approach is definitely still very much achievable using various ways of storage and management.
What advice would you give someone transitioning to TAB/Choice? For anyone interested in transitioning to TAB/Choice I would recommend to read all you can about this philosophy, observe other TAB/Choice teachers and design your program to fit you and your students. The level of choice and independence you allow your students is up to you! The important thing is doing what works for you and your students.
OAEA Interest Groups offer members a key opportunity to connect with other members who share an interest in a specific issue or topic in art education. Interest Groups share ideas, bring areas of concerns to OAEA’s attention, and hold events at the OAEA State Convention.
Ohio Choice-Art Educators
Purpose: To expand public awareness of choice-based art education and to provide a network for art educators who wish to share their interests in or learn more about teaching art with choice. The organization will encourage professional relationships and provide for an informal, yet focused, exchange of ideas about how to teach through centers, choice, and student-directed learning.
Choice-Art Educators seek to develop the artistic thinking of their students, through centers and choices; encouraging them and teaching them to come up with their own ideas for art making. This approach facilitates differentiation, which easily meets the needs of a variety of types of learners.
The Choice-Art Educators group seeks to promote and support choice-based and learner-directed art education in public and private education settings. It also seeks to bring those interested in this methodology together to learn not only from and discuss each other’s work but also the work of those in related fields.
Want to collaborate, connect and join this group: Email or join our Facebook page!
Dawn Norris - Ohio TAB/Choice Chair
2019 OAEA Conference Recap
Several members presented workshops to expand our knowledge of Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) and Choice. One workshop was presented by Abby Hanser, who is this years Elementary Division Award winner! It was a hands on presentation about the Studio Habits of Mind. We were asked to do creative challenges based on the Studio Habits and then reflect on how we may be already using this Habit of Mind with our students. The Attachment Challenge was co-presented by Dawn Norris and Kim Cover. This hands on workshop went well with this years theme of ‘Unearth your creative potential’ by reusing packaging and other materials as well as attachments to sculpt with.
Besides getting a chance to exchange ideas at workshops, members met up during the meals and had an informal meet up at the North Market.