I have been teaching for artistic behavior (TAB) for nine years.  I spent 6 years TAB in grades pre-K through eight, then moved to high school where I’ve just finished my third year. I haven’t written yet this summer but have been actively working on my professional growth. As I do every summer, I reflect on the past year, read through the year-end student survey responses and use resources to plan new content based on what I’ve learned.

I first read Engaging Learners Through Artmaking years ago and used the text to devise a plan for making the changes that I knew were necessary to create an authentic art experience for my students. Years have passed since my first reading of the text. The reading of the second edition of Engaging Learners, published just this year, followed a long weekend professional retreat with TAB teachers from the midwest. At the retreat, TABstock, we discussed everything from  advocacy to engagement, which stems from the three sentence curriculum:

  1. What do artists do?
  2. The child is the artist.
  3. The art room is the child’s studio.

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Reading Engaging Learners, following reflection on my first year at Galesburg-Augusta HS and our rich discussion at TABstock, has brought me to the following conclusion: I need to simplify things in my art room. I need to present students with the least amount of information to get them started, then get out of the way.  However, I need to tighten up the delivery of this information. Throughout my years of TAB teaching, I have lost focused center menus, vocabulary and the consistent routines that make the studio hum. I need to keep growing in my practice, even if that means scaling back, to provide the best learning opportunities for students.