CBMS Choice-Based Art Studio

CBMS Choice-Based Art Studio
CBMS Choice-Based Art Studio

Monday, January 5, 2015

"Can I come back during my free period?"

Students often ask to come to art during the last block of the school day, which for most, is a study hall. This is my "Planning Period," and while I could use the time in a quiet child-free studio, I almost always say "yes!"
Last block becomes a multi-age studio
Some artists return to the studio to finish up something they are working on during they regular art class. Some are here because their art class ended, and they miss it. Some are here because they would rather work with art materials than do their homework, while others have finished all their homework, and choose time in the studio over time in the library. 
A group of regulars - here nearly every day
Sometimes students come during last block to get a private lesson, on the sewing machine or potter's wheel, for instance. The understanding is: in order to come to art students need "a purpose and a pass." This assures that the sending teacher knows where their students are, and keeps the studio productive, if a little more relaxed (we often have music on last block).
Handmade paper from art class employed to "look old" for a Social Studies assignment
More and more, students appear to make "visuals" for their other classes. I can always tell when a big Social Studies unit is wrapping up, because the studio fills right up last block! When students elect to come to the studio for their own purposes, it demonstrates to me that they have a working knowledge of the materials and techniques I introduced earlier. Students can apply their knowledge from other subjects, and "show what they know" through art making. This is learner-implemented "Arts Integration." 
Clay bust made in support of 5th grade study of Greek Mythology - during free block
What has developed is a student-initiated art club of sorts. Or maybe it is more like an authentic community studio. In any case, it is a pleasure to sit at my keyboard and observe a quiet room of mixed aged students working on an assortment of projects they care about. 
To quote my friend & mentor Kathy Douglas, "this is the best (but not easiest) job in the world." Today it felt pretty easy though...
This Alligator worked out so well, 6th grade "Z" found he had to return to make another as a commission!