- Meredith Blackerby
Look at me, a big blogger! I decided to start this more for myself than anything else. Most of the time I like to think that I'm pretty good at what I do, but I can only take credit for about 10% of what I do as a teacher. The sheer volume of educational resources nowadays is astounding and most of my ideas come from other incredible educators. I love surfing pinterest (probably for longer amounts of time than I would care to admit) and finding fun new ideas to implement into my classroom. Most of the time I find myself thinking "I wish I'd thought of that!". But that's the amazing thing about teaching! You don't have to be the one who came up with the idea in order to use it in your classroom. You find something you like and try it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it completely crashes. And then you pick up the pieces and try a new idea.
So I guess I wanted to add to that already huge amount of information that's out there. If I can make one person say "Wow, why didn't I think of that?!", I'll be a very happy camper.
A little bit about me....I graduated from Indiana University in 2015 with a degree in Elementary Education and a concentration in the Fine Arts. I moved to Columbus, Indiana after graduation fully prepared to take any job I could get my hands on. And it just so happened that an amazing job fell right into my lap. I landed a position at two magnet schools in town that share all of their related arts teacher (art, music, and PE). So I spend my mornings in one classroom and my afternoons in another. Year one came and went pretty quickly with not a whole lot to brag about besides the fact that I survived. I left for my first summer break feeling good, but not great. I wanted something more. I wanted a challenge, a change.
And I found it! I met another teacher from the area who had been using something called TAB for the better part of two decades. TAB stood for Teaching for Artistic Behavior and focused on students learning to make independent and creative choices in the art room. I had never heard of anything like it, but I knew immediately that I wanted to join the club. So I proceeded to spend my entire summer researching, planning, and researching some more. It was a HUGE change, but I knew it would be worth it. And oh my goodness, was it. I am not going to get up on a soap box and talk about how this is the only right way to teach art because it's not. Teaching art is just as unique as artwork itself. And every teacher needs to find the style that works for them. This just so happened to be the right one for me!
I spent the last few weeks of my first summer setting up my classroom. Each station was perfectly organized, the room was carefully designed for maximum flow, and I had the first day intro locked and ready. But, as all good teachers know, you can plan everything to the last second and none of that will matter when you add students to the equation. The beginning was fine and the students were excited, but this was a new concept for all of us. We had to stumble through it together, work through kinks, figure out what worked and what didn't.
Even though the beginning was rocky, the improvements were immediate. My students were motivated, behavior issues were down, and my energy was recharged! The first year of TAB was incredible. It was exhausting, and straining, and I had to learn to give up a lot of control that I was accustomed to holding. But I have not, even once, looked back.
We are now almost two weeks into year two of TAB! Follow me here at smARTist to see how our year unfolds. I'd love to share our adventure with you!
#elementaryart #TAB #TeachingforArtisticBehavior #ChoiceArt #ArtTeacher #AboutMe