Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Structure That Supports Freedom of Thought

One of the absolute fundamental benefits of choice based art programs is the support, space and time that teachers provide children to realize and exercise their freedom of thought. Within this structure exists the realm of free inquiry, freedom of expression and free creation.
A 2nd grade student explores her ideas about color, line, composition and rhythm in a tempera painting.
Sounds easy but implementing a structure for freedom within institutions that seek to control inputs,  outputs and children's actions is a bit of a paradox. Do children co-construct the curriculum in other subject areas within American K-12 education? Unless children attend a private independent school, in today's high stakes standardized test mandated K-12 education climate that answer for the most part is no.

A hallmark of any educational institution or democratic society is how it provides learners with opportunities to develop their innate talents, gifts and passions as free human beings. Authorities should be challenged to this point. How does the World's most important democracy recognize humans as unique individuals and how do we educate them to operate within a free and open society?

Providing children with opportunities to co-construct learning experience provides them with opportunities to exercise free will in the context as a natural learner free from coercion and maximizes the potential of such experiences to provide new pathways to realize unique and innate human characteristics.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lowenfeld: Every Human Being is Endowed With A Creative Spirit

2nd grader experiments with shapes and composition utilizing tempera paint.
4th grade boy builds a cardboard airplane model.
2nd grader investigates a small object utilizing a microscope.
6th grader shows off her cow sculpture.
How do we support that creative spirit? Viktor Lowenfeld had observed years before Howard Gardner's work on multiple intelligences, that we are born with innate capacities and in varying degrees. Choice based art rooms support children's innate creative intelligences.  Optimizing learning experience within heterogeneous communities becomes a matter of stimulating learning through the creative spirit. It also means awareness and basic understanding of emergent curriculum, cognitive development, constructivist learning experience and designing specialized learning environments to facilitate self-determined, self directed learning experience.

Monday, March 24, 2014

TAB Seminar Information Flyer

After checking out the lineup, the setting and the schedule, this professional development event looks to be exciting and historic!
Flyer designed and authored by Diane Jaquith

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Learning About One's Creative Capacities

I rubbed chalk all over a paper then I put paint all over it. Next I put dots all over the paper and outlined them. And that was how I made it.
Artist statements reveal much about a child's creative process. These windows into the learner's creative capacities reveal degrees of independent thinking, unique interests, attention to learning activity and confirmation of uniqueness and individuality.

Learner directed experiences matter because when learners are outside the structure of the classroom, what structures are they left with to support the continuation of their creative thinking? The truth? They are left with memories of their experience. How interesting the activity is to the learner determines how much attention the learner is going to invest into the learning event. How attentive were children during their learning activities?  How deep and compelling the experience is, and how much of the learning process the learner accepts into his or her character, determines how long memories and learning will last. This process can become cyclical.

Choice art teachers provide learners with ample opportunities to develop authentic multi-sensory, trans-disciplinary learning experiences, generated from and attached to existing memories and interests that have deep roots within the mind.

Affirming children's time sensitive ideas, allowing them to discover their own styles and capacities for independent thinking will unlock their emotional drive and set them on a course toward future self-directed pathways where they become confident, active, independent learners and metacognitive thinkers.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What Do Student Artist Statements Reveal? Experience Matters!

I am Andy. I like colors. Thats it! Andy Grade 1
We are good friends. P.S. Have a good day! Katie Grade 1
We love to draw. We love art. Hayden Grade 1
Hi my name is Cam and I like to make art with my friends. Mr. Gol likes to tell stores a lot. Cam 1st Grade

I got inspired by this painting. I thought I should do some dots but then it was blank so I came up with this idea.
Mia 3rd grade
Hi my name is Sophie. I love art. I love to draw. I love making my picture colorful and color over over on the same paper I love rainbows and colorful things. I have a lot of feelings in this picture.
This is Sheutmon X7 it is the 7th fusion form of Sheutmon it is the most powerful Digimon in the World! Brandon Grade 4 
Hi. My name is Maddie. I love art. It's fun to add paint and color to everything. I thought of doing this because it's fun to hide little things in your drawing. I love designs and color. Thank You! Maddie Grade 5
John Dewey noted in "Art As Experience," that viewers of art objects or final artistic outcomes are many times unaware of the internal experience that takes place within the minds and hearts of the artist during the creative act. That aspect of the creative act is all too apparent when viewing children's self directed art and reading the accompanying artist statements. One thing viewers notice when viewing a TAB student art exhibit is that children practice the conceptual work of art making and take ownership of the ideas behind the final art products. In choice based art programs, children's ideas matter!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

2014 Indiana Youth Art Month Remarks

My sincerest thanks to Kheira Adda, Mindy Stephenson, Sidney Allen, Terri Nagle, Bev Staub, Allie Staub and all the AEAI Youth Art Month volunteers who made this exhibition such a special event! Here are my remarks to the students, parents and citizens who attended this wonderful exhibition of Indiana K-12 drawings, paintings, collage and printmaking art display held at the South Atrium of the Indiana State Capitol!

Photo by Terri Nagle.
Good Afternoon!

I wanted to say something to you about the arts and the formation of mind, but my students at New Palestine Elementary always tell me I take up too much of their art time because I talk too much so I will try to be brief.

200 years ago, in the town of Dole, France, a boy was born to poorly educated parents. Early on, he was not very astute in academics, however, he showed an immense interest in drawing and painting. He devoted much of his early life to art and at one time considered work as a professional portrait painter. As he grew, his interests turned to science, and later he decided to use his powers of imagination in science laboratories. This former art student would go on to a spectacular career in bio-chemistry and is responsible for developing numerous scientific breakthroughs in germ theory, the science of vaccination and pasteurization. Of course I am talking about Louis Pasteur.  Pasteur credited his early art training as providing him with the capacity to envision cellular activity at microscopic levels. On the relationship of art and science Pasteur said, “The illusions of the experiment form the greater part of my power!

Art making has immense psycho-dynamic power to imbue in children the attributes of imagination, observation, intellect and perception that will serve them well into their adulthood. Think about it.The only subject in school that is a bonafide medical therapy is art. Art is powerful stuff. Art is science! 95% of the World’s top STEM professionals all have fine arts backgrounds. Art education is a good thing!

Unfortunately, I leave you today with sad news. Throughout our state, we have witnessed art programs cut and creativity development reduced in our public schools. High quality art programs are at risk across this state. Real dollars reaching Indiana classrooms have declined since 2002 by at least 20%.

If you would like to advocate for your children’s art program, I urge you to contact your legislators at IN.GOV. Send your federal legislators, send your governor and send your president a loud and clear message either by telephone or by email to adequately fund Indiana public schools and preserve fine arts programs for your children and our future. 

We cannot afford future failures of imagination! 
I thank you!

Saturday, February 01, 2014

TAB Institute: Professional Development For Holistic Integrated Thinking Through Art Education

The TAB Institute will be held at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, Massachusetts July 13-19, 2014.

What is the TAB Institute?
This one-week Teaching for Artistic Behavior course offers intensive inquiry into the practice of choice-based art education for beginning and experienced TAB teachers. This is the only course exclusively offered by the founders of Teaching for Artistic Behavior. This course is available for graduate credit.

Where will the TAB Institute be located?
The setting is Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MCAD), located in the Fenway neighborhood. MCAD is in close proximity to two world class art museums, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts [Link:] and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum [Link:], as well as historic Fenway Park [Link:], home to the Boston Red Sox.

What are the dates?
The TAB Institute will take place from 4 p.m. Sunday, July 13 – Friday, July 18. The Institute will conclude at 2 p.m. on Friday to accommodate travel plans.

The faculty is comprised of TAB founders, including Katherine Douglas, Diane Jaquith, Nan Hathaway and Clyde Gaw.

What does the daily schedule look like? 
Daily instruction will be delivered in two tiers, Beginning (Track I) and Established (Track II). Following breakfast in the Arnheim Gallery, the two tracks will meet separately for 1-2 hours. All participants will come together mid-morning for a range of presentations by additional speakers. Each afternoon a different 3-hour activity will take place, including a collective art making experience, museum visit, studio artist visit, and an “Unconference,” where participants determine the content. Evening workshops will include studio center design, classroom overviews, and topics for instruction.

Are the evening workshops required?
Those seeking graduate credit will need to attend the entire Institute in order to earn 45 credit hours of contact time.

How will I know which Track to select?
Track I: Track I is for beginning and established teachers who are new to TAB. Participants will acquire plans, tools, and strategies to fully implement a choice-based art curriculum in their own setting. Topics include:
Setting up Studio Centers
Shifting roles from teacher-directed to learner-directed
Demo Lessons
Student Learning Objectives Curriculum Mapping Authentic AssessmentTrack II: Track II is for teachers who have implemented a modified-choice or full-choice art program for at least one year. At the end of the Institute, participants will be able to identify the diverse needs of individual students and demonstrate how student learning objectives for all learners can be met through TAB classroom practices. Topics include:
Learning Theories Special Populations Personalized Learning
Feedback and questioning strategies
Emergent Curriculum

Is the Institute differentiated by level?
There will be opportunities for participants to group by level: pre-K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 during the afternoon and evening sessions. Some of the mid-morning presentations will also focus on elementary and secondary topics.

How do I get there?
For distance travelers, Boston is best accessed through Logan Airport or Amtrak. Boston is a walking city with excellent public transportation. MCAD is located directly on the MBTA Green Line, Longwood Medical stop (E train, Heath).

What do I need to bring?
Participants should bring the required readings, laptop or tablet. Rooms will be air-conditioned so a light-weight sweater would be a good idea. Boston is a walking city so good walking shoes are recommended. Basic art materials will be provided to replicate
studio center experiences. MCAD sells artist materials in their campus bookstoreWhat are the requirements for graduate credit?
Pre-Course preparation includes readings, online forum, and Pinterest
45 hours contact during Institute
Post-Course project

Will MCAD credits be accepted by my school district?
Students registered for credit will receive letter grades. Students seeking credit for career enhancement or reimbursement are urged to contact their home institutions to arrange prior approval. Course credit is not automatically transferable; policies on transfer credit vary by 
institution and by program, so it is important to seek the approval of your advisor before 
you register. Registration for credit must occur before the class begins.

How much does the TAB Institute cost?
For three graduate credits, the fee is $1910. 
To audit the course, the fee is $675.

Two-bedroom suites have a shared bath, available Sunday through Thursday, Friday night is optional. The workshop rates for single and double rooms are:
Double: $55/night per person
Single: $75/night per person

Parking will be available for $25 for the week.

Breakfast Monday-Friday and two dinners, Sunday and Thursday nights, are provided with registration. For other meals there are many inexpensive dining options in the neighborhood, including the Dining Commons at MCAD.

How do I register?
Registration for the TAB Institute will be through Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s Professional and Continuing Education Program. [Link:]  Registrations open in February. Those interested in receiving an email announcement when registration is available can email Katherine Douglas at 

Policies on Payment
A $300 non-refundable deposit is required to register. The balance will be due on June 1. Participants who withdraw prior to July 1 will receive a refund, minus the deposit. After July 1 no refund will be provided for withdrawal from the course.