CBMS Choice-Based Art Studio

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

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Gang's All Here!

I guess the word is out: Students can come to use the (their) art studio during "last block," as long as they have "a purpose and a 
pass" and agree to work independently (it is my "planning period" after all!) Today there were more students using the studio during last block than during any of my classes during the day - and unlike any of my regular classes, these students are self-selected and from all grade levels.

Recent student cat-themed work by a collaborative group of 7th grade artists prompted me to head to the attic for my copy of Millions of Cats," which I am gearing up to read when the moment is right. But today it surely felt to me like the refrain in that classic old storybook: "Cats here, cats there, cats and kitten everywhere!" (Only the "cats" were kids!)
For a while, it was a more-or-less closely guarded secret that I would allow students to use the studio during last block (if they promised to work independently and agreed to let me do the same). Through-out  the year I had a small group of faithfuls, who more-or-less kept this information "under their hat." But as the year has worn on there has been a steady increase of students arriving daily, testing to see if the rumor is really true.  

One student comes with his aid, because ever since the quarter changed, he misses his daily dose of drawing, One student brings a friend and enjoys some time away from her core teaching team, one student, who once needed an aid's help, now comes and works independently on an ever-growing collection of slab-built, functional pottery, often given to friends and family as gifts. Groups of 5th graders, who had to wait all year for their turn in art, are making up for lost time by coming to the studio immediately after their regular class is dismissed, getting, in effect, a double block of art (clever 5th graders). Then there are the 7th graders who have a project due for social studies. Their presence swells the studio almost to overflowing and brings along a sense of urgency ("its due tomorrow," they inform me).