Teacher Feature: Megan Newton
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!
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OAEA TAB/Choice Chair