CBMS Choice-Based Art Studio

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

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Important Thing

It's a concept we return to again and again - “what is the important thing about art?”
Quarter 2 has just begun, and one group of 5th graders (from the “Quest” team) pondered the question. 
I wrote some of their responses on the whiteboard:

 Is it just me, or does this new crop of artists appear to be unusually sophisticated in their thinking?

Thursday, November 7, 2013


A new temporary center is available in the CBMS Art Studio for the next few weeks. 
8th graders at work in Lantern Center

6th grade lantern artists at work

Students may choose to work in the "Lantern Making Center" to create original lantern designs for Waterbury's annual River of Light Parade. The parade takes place on December 7th and this year culminates in a community bonfire. We discovered a video from Australia today showing artists using the same willow, paper & glue technique that Waterbury lantern-makers are familiar with. The austrailian lantern-artists place real lighted candles in their lanterns.
An 8th grade innovation
The parade's theme this year is "Creatures of the Sea" - students have started to design fish, squid, sea turtles and even a seahorse! This activity is perfect for our Choice-Based Art studio, because students are familiar with the event and have experience making a variety of lanterns in the past as school projects or through area art workshops. Students can use this knowledge as a spring-board to innovative new designs, shapes and structures that will carry light on parade night.
Grade 6 students adding paper "skin"

Fish design by 6th grade lantern specialist
 6th Graders interpret the "Creatures of the Sea" theme for the River of Lights parade
A nice shark is taking shape!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Reflection & Critique

Meet "Dale & Dalia" - two astronauts exploring far off places, clay sculpture collaboration, by "A" & "A," grade 6
Every two weeks, students pause in the “making” to reflect about and share their work. Sometimes the reflection is about a finished artwork, other times it is an examination of individuals’ creative process. Students refer to 8 “Studio Thinking Habits” as a lens to examine their work.
Here are some of the recent responses from a grade 6 class near the end of their 10 week quarter:
  • DEVELOP CRAFT: “I learned how to hand sew better and I learned a different kind of stitch.”
  • DEVELOP CRAFT/ENGAGE & PERSIST/ENVISION: ( this student chose 3 Studio Thinking Habits): “I am practicing my drawing skills by drawing a comic book/ I decided to make a comic book and I didn't give up on it/I’m using imagination by making up a comic book.”
  • ENVISION: “I used the sewing machine to make a costume for my sister’s 18” dolls.”
  • DEVELOP CRAFT: “I was developing craft because I was learning how to use clay in a better way because my piece is functional.”
  • OBSERVE: “I was going off what my friend did and I decided I really liked it.”
  • ENGAGE & PERSIST: “I chose this because I am determined to finish this blanket for my baby cousin.”
  • REFLECT:  “I have chosen reflect because I have learned to describe my artwork and talk about it in my own words.”

This is the second year that this group has employed Studio Thinking Habits to think and speak about their work. The habits were identified and described by a group of researcher and art educators from Harvard Project Zero who sought to define the benefits for students of participating in art programs.

These “Habits of Mind” are useful to examine learning in other disciplines as well. I have heard of music teachers, a science teacher and a math teacher who employ these ideas in their practice with students. Habits of Mind describe the thinking and skills that contribute to the ability to become life-long-learner and creative producers.