Learning to Think Like an Artist
What is TAB?
TAB: Teaching for Artistic Behavior, is a way of teaching through which students learn to think like an artist. The school art room has been transformed into the students' art studio. They work in their studio just as a professional artist would. Student artists have the power to express themselves authentically and pursue their interests. This way of working develops critical thinking and creative problem solving. It is often referred to as Choice Based Art, because each student chooses what he or she wants to create and which available materials they want to use. Our third, fourth, and fifth grade students have created art in this way all year. Kindergarten, first and second grades had a mixture of T.A.B. and teacher directed lessons. This allows me to build a groundwork of skills with these young artists.
The teacher's role is to work as a coach and facilitator. Mini-lessons at the beginning of class introduce new materials, techniques, and professional artists’ work. Then students use what they learn to inform their own artistic work. The teacher is there to encourage and guide as students work through the creating process. The exciting thing for me is to watch students become teachers. I often hear them teaching peers about concepts that I have taught them individually or things that they have figured out on their own.
During their studio time, students are encouraged to experiment with manipulating new materials and building their skills by practicing with familiar materials. Students may work on artwork to take home. This artwork can be given as a gift or used as decoration. Students may also choose to create artwork for display in our hallway art gallery. We call these W.O.W. projects. W.O.W. stands for Wonderful Original Work of Art. When making a W.O.W. Project, Pleasant Grove artists work through the following artistic process based on the Studio Habits of Mind.
As artists we…
- have ideas inspired by what we think, remember, feel and see
- gather materials and tools to explore our ideas
- explore/make our ideas with a growth mindset- work through false starts, changes in direction, and mistakes.
- discuss our work with others and reflect on the feedback given
- decide when our work is finished
- prepare our artwork for display by writing an artist’s statement telling about our artwork and the thought process behind it
- put tools and materials away properly
- think about “what’s next?”
- use what we have learned to inform our next idea
When a student completes this artistic process, we celebrate their success. The class acknowledges their accomplishments with a round of applause and their work is put on display.