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  • Meredith Blackerby

All for TAB & TAB for ALL!

I have said it before and I will say it again until I drive myself insane, TAB is not a magical fix for all of your art room problems. If you happen to be the one art teacher in the world that has no behavioral problems, let us all in on your secrets!

But seriously, nothing is ever going to 100% eliminate the issues that we see on a daily basis in the art room. What I have found in my three-year TAB journey is that the percentage of students who end up truly loving their artwork increases exponentially.

I would like to share one of these AWESOME experiences that occurred recently in our art room with all of you. Choice-Art starts in 2nd grade at my schools and, as you can imagine, it takes some getting used to. There are plenty of students who dive in head first to the Choice-Art world and it is love at first sight. But there are also those who are a bit more hesitant or even a little confused about the whole concept of making their own choices.

This particular young man has always been a bit behind the curve when it comes to adjusting. He doesn't like change and it takes him a few extra tries to get things going. So this year, when he entered 2nd grade, I knew it would take him a bit longer to jump on the choice-train. He has definitely made some projects, but they have been relatively simple and definitely within his comfort zone (mostly drawings and a couple of clumsy, cardboard sculptures).

To give some relevant background info, two weeks ago we had an in depth conversation about the question "How can we challenge ourselves as artists?". I love to start the new semester with a thought-provoking question to re-energize our creative juices.

Fast-forward to this week. My little 2nd graders come in and this little guy throws me a curve-ball. He wants to PAINT! HECK YEAH! (I did not actually exclaim this way, but I was definitely doing cartwheels in my brain!)

So he proceeds to collect his materials and not only does he grab the normal stuff (paper, paint brush, paint, etc.), but he also pulls out one of our eye dropper tools that we typically use with liquid watercolors.

He gets his work area set up and starts to play around with the eye dropper. At first, he has trouble getting the thick, tempera paint to suck up into the tool. After a little experimentation, he discovers that by adding a little water he is able to more easily suck up the paint. He then continues to mix and explore with his paints for the rest of the work time, completely filling up his paint tray and paper with different colors!

In the end, his painting did not turn out looking like anything all too special. By the time he was finished, there was a lot of brown puddles on his paper. But to this student, this painting represents trying something new, pushing himself outside of his comfort zone, and CHALLENGING himself as an artist! And THAT is what TAB is all about!

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