Commonly Asked Questions

How do you promote the Teaching for Artistic Behavior concept to administration?

  • Teaching for Artistic Behavior is compatible with current research in teaching and learning.
  • Multiple intelligence theory informs the various entry points that this model provides for students.
  • Differentiated instructional models reach special needs and at-risk students who accommodate themselves in this setting.
  • Peer mentoring through online professional communities
  • State and national standards are addressed throughout the year.
  • Students will be learning self-motivation, building ideas, collaboration, and higher order approaches to self-expression.

How do you meet the standards?

  • Every demonstration that the choice teacher presents should embody multiple standards.
  • Each center, with its vocabulary, menus, resources and directions is a “three dimensional lesson plan” that connects student-centered learning with state standards.

 What if a student chooses the same thing every week?

  • Choice teaching offers students the opportunity to go deep in a particular medium or technique that interests them.
  • Visiting and revisiting, children can follow a line of thought and practice with tools for toward a developmentally-appropriate mastery.
  • The choice-based teacher is careful to monitor student work to help children make progress within their choices.

How can you afford all the materials?

  • When students can choose among many options, a teacher does not have to provide large amounts of any material or tools at one time.
  • Whatever materials are available in your setting are the materials you can offer your students.
  • Recycled and donated materials add to the variety of offerings in the classroom.

Isn’t there a lot of waste?

  • The choice-based teacher can control the use of very expensive materials, such as 90-pound paper by distributing with certain restrictions.
  • Practice, sketching and revising are a very important part of learning and so inexpensive papers should be available in large quantities for this purpose.
  • Students are coached to re-use supplies resulting from projects that hit a dead end.

How do you assess student learning?

  • Assessment is ongoing and students are coached and encouraged to self-assess as they work. When students are working independently, the choice teacher is able to make general and one-on-one observations of what students know and can do. Future demonstrations and assistance are directly tied to these observations. Assessment is tailored to the specific district expectations.

How do you fit this in to a short class time?

  • The predictability of the choice-based classroom makes good use of short time. Students know what is available in the art room and they often plan their work before class. Whole group instructional demonstrations are brief, maximizing studio work time. Students are responsible for their own set-up and clean-up which shortens the time necessary for both.

How do you do this with no time between classes?

  • Basic centers remain set up at all times and need not be changed between classes.
  • More advanced materials are accessible to older students.
  • Good clean up habits are part of the class expectations, so students prepare the room for those waiting to enter.

How do you do this in a tiny room?

  • In small rooms, centers can be contained in a box with organized materials, small laminated menus and other resources.
  • Students can be shown how to access materials as needed.
  • Because of numerous choices, the teacher can limit space-consuming projects to a very few students at a time, while allowing everyone to be busy.

How do you do this with no room?

  • Teaching art on a cart is difficult for any style of art teaching. With several easy-to-manage choices at a time, the traveling art teacher can allow students to return to favorites, to take turns with more complicated materials and techniques, and avoid the problem of children working at different rates.

My class size is huge. How will that work?

  • Because center offerings are unique to each school situation, the choice teacher can opt out of materials and techniques that take up lots of space in favor of easier-to-manage activities.
  • Complex centers involving paint or printmaking can be available to a few children each week, while others work independently on weavings or drawings or collage.
  • In some schools, quiet centers (art books, manipulatives or simple drawing materials) can expand into the hallway, making more room and spreading children out a bit.
  • Centers can be set up for both sitting and standing work.

How can you help all those kids at once?

  • In addition to the five-minute whole class demos, teaching takes place via permanent visuals, models, photos, and peer coaches. When much of the class is working independently or in small groups, the teacher is freed up to work with struggling students or with those attempting something more advanced.

How do you integrate with classroom social studies?

  • Choice teachers are able to collaborate with classroom teachers in many ways, while still offering choice for their students.
  • With information and resources connecting to classroom units set up in the art room, students can be encouraged to expand their knowledge and make their own connections.
  • Students who are excited by classroom work often incorporate their new knowledge in to their artwork.

How about the kids who choose to do nothing?

  • There is no “do nothing” center in a good choice classroom!
  • Teachers assist individual students to find a good starting point for their work.
  • Students with an occasional “down” week are encouraged to partner with other students or help with art room maintenance.