Let's Talk About The "S" Word
No, not that one....let's talk about Standards! This was one of the scariest parts about switching to TAB for me. How am I going to teach my kiddos the standards that I need to cover if I'm not giving them projects to go along with them?? It was quite a daunting task. I have seen a lot of teachers who give themes that students have to follow each month or quarter and I have heard that that can work quite well. But I wanted to keep a fully open atmosphere to our studio time so that strategy didn't quite fit in my plans. So if you're more like me, here's what I do to make sure we're still hitting those standards.
We always start with Mini-Lesson time. It's the first part of our class and my students know the routine by now. They come in quickly and quietly, get their sketchbooks and a pencil to take notes, and get to their seats.
My mini-lessons are typically a video. I have found that my students are more engaged with videos and, *bonus*, it gives me a couple of minutes to regroup and reset. The videos also keep our mini-lesson from being, well....not so mini. I am, unfortunately, a talker and I find that I sometimes take too much time to explain things. This cuts into their precious work time (of which we already get so little). But when I make a video, I can keep my thoughts concise and to the point.
**Helpful Tip: I use iMovie on my ipad or laptop to make videos. Super easy and great quality videos. It's to add graphics, text, and cut the video to the desired length. I actually got this idea from the goddess herself, Cassie Stephens. If you haven't heard of her, definitely check her out. She's not a TAB teacher, but she is an incredible educator with a lot of amazing videos.
But back to mini-lesson time! I have my students take notes either during the lesson or immediately following, depending on their preference. I have a small whiteboard in my classroom where I put "Today's Art Goal" each week. For instance, when we are learning about the color wheel I might write "I can name the six colors that go into the color wheel". That way they know what they are expected to learn from the mini-lesson that day. I will also write down important vocab. words on this board to give them an idea of what they might want to include in their notes.
See an example of the goal board below:
Obviously you are always going to have the students who drag their feet when you ask them to take notes. I try to solve this problem by giving them "open-note quizzes" throughout the school year. This tends to clear that issue right up!
This routine has, so far, worked pretty wonderfully in our classroom! It ensures that students are engaged in their learning while also keeping the lesson time short enough to allow for ample work time. And I am usually pleasantly surprised to find that many students incorporate what they have learned into their projects!
What strategies have you used to cover standards in your Choice classroom??