Teaching and Learning

Your instructional practice:

  • How do you present lessons now?
  • What works well that you can incorporate in to TAB demonstrations?
  • Do you have good visuals, vocabulary information, and written directions that you can adapt for independent work?
  • Where does your practice fit on the TAB Continuum of Choice?  Would you like to offer more choices to your students?

How to pare demonstrations down to five minutes:

  • Go for the essence: what is the least you can tell students to get them started?
  • Present some information in visual form that can become part of your centers for later reference.
  • Save discussion of resources, art history, etc. until after students have begun to work.
  • Simplify: keep early demonstrations to materials/techniques that students can use independently right away. Save more complex materials/techniques for the future.

Your Room:

  • How many centers can you accommodate?
  • Can you make a gathering/demonstration area?
  • Are there areas for displaying menus, directions and resources in each center?
  • What sort of storage do you have for unfinished work?
  • Where is your water source?

Your Schedule:

  • How often do you see students?
  • How often can you plan to open a new center?
  • How will you divide up your minutes between demonstration, work time, clean up and sharing?
  • If you have a wide age range, what will/will not be available for all grades?
  • How will you manage transitions?

Your Materials:

  • What materials do you already have for creating centers?
  • How will you arrange things so that students know what materials and tools they can and cannot use without asking you?
  • How can you get free/recycled materials?

You will need to create a system for keeping track of student work.  Is there something you already do that you can adapt to TAB teaching?Make sure students are part of your system. For instance, students can:

  • Mark a color-coded chart each week to record the centers they chose
  • Photograph their work to add to electronic portfolios
  • Maintain journals or sketchbooks
  • Fill out rubrics
  • Keep work in portfolios


  • Read everything you can get your hands on relating to TAB practice and student-centered learning and teaching. You will find useful links on this website.
  • Look for articles on Differentiated Learning, Constructivism and Choice in all areas of education.
  • Print out the practices, stories and research summaries at http://knowledgeloom.org/tab/
  • Join the TAB online discussion forum:



  • Meet with your art supervisor and principal.  Present them with a succinct collection from your research.  Create a plan for making the transition to student-centered learning.
  • Offer information to your school colleagues, explaining your approach and its benefits to their students.
  • Brainstorm strategies for supporting classroom units without withholding choice for your students.
  • Create a newsletter for parents explaining your goals for the program.  Offer strategies to parents for talking with their children about their art and for appreciating student ideas over and above nice products.
  • Consider meeting with parent groups and/or school committees once your program is up and running successfully to report on student achievement.