Sunday, August 24, 2014


" What young artists need is a school where they can learn a variety of skills, a place where there is cross-pollination." Walt Disney 

Making the transition from a learner directed elementary art program to a high school version has been a good one. After teaching elementary art for 29 years, I have a new respect for my colleagues who teach at the elementary level! 

High school art teaching is lots of fun! Learner's have lots of executive functioning skills. 

The fact that art class is an elective at the high school level makes my new job even more rewarding.

Our curriculum is centered around lots of student ideas about art making within our drawing center, painting center, computer center, cardboard construction center, electronic portfolio program and lots of student initiated action. 

Many students are concerned with drawing realistically so I have been sharing with them secrets of the old masters!

We are settling into a way of doing. A way of being. Investigating, researching, experimenting, sharing, mentoring, communicating. 

Lots of cross-pollination going on in this art room right now. 

I call high school TAB art education Heaven!

Linoleum Prints!
Observation drawing utilizing an optical device!
Utilizing a grid to enhance our picture making!
Collaborative drawing!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

New Gig....

After 29 years working with elementary children, it was time to find out how learner directed art education pedagogy would work with older students within an institutional setting. After my first 3 weeks at New Palestine High School, I would have to say TAB works beautifully! The students are thriving and I am enjoying teaching like never before! More to come soon! Happy teaching...Clyde

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Generating Numerical Assessment Data In A TAB Art Program

Generating numerical data for teacher evaluation is on the minds of many art educators. The approach I have described below is doable, however it does NOT take into account outside influences (A serious problem with standardized high stakes tests that policymakers do not want to concede). After successfully completing this assessment model this past year, I am not happy with it's design after taking into account student variables the teacher has no control over. My sincerest thanks to Diane Jaquith and Clark Fralick for input in this matter.

The Assessment

In all, a total of 20 students were involved in this assessment event.
In retrospect, TAB learning experience is used here as a form of behavior modification. I have done constructed response-portfolio assessments with students my entire teaching career. The new Indiana teacher evaluation program, RISE, dictates to teachers they must engage in behavior modification. This is what the state wants. Even if this assessment was successful from the state's point of view, is it morally proper? What about children who regress after baseline events due to environmental influences beyond their control and the teachers control? What does the state have to say about that?

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Arts and Activities June 2014 Article: Adventures In STEAM

Many thanks to Maryellen Bridge, editor and publisher of Arts and Activities magazine for publishing this article!

Neuroscientific research conducted by Eric Kandel reveal that sensory based learning experiences are critical learning events!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

New Position

I have had a wonderful 29 years teaching elementary art and 28 of those years took place at New Palestine Elementary. Next year I will be teaching at New Palestine High School where I will have the opportunity to work with many of my former elementary students. The adventure continues!
Standing next to 2014 Youth Art Month exhibitors whose work is on display at the Indiana State Capitol.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

6th Grade Boy: "Art Should Be....Like the Whole School!"

In a TAB classroom, students are not outside the decision making process central to the learning activities they engage in.
One of the beautiful and most compelling things about TAB is the contingency that children are able to co-construct the curriculum. There is ample evidence that intentionality, creativity and independent thinking are systematically driven out of children by curriculum focused on standardized test driven-accountability as students progress from Kindergarten to the upper grades. Looking at the bigger picture, the question becomes: Do schools support children's independent thinking and entrepreneurial capacities? Unless you are a TAB art teacher or educator who provides regular autonomy or opportunities that support learner-determined curriculum the answer is no.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Structure That Supports Freedom of Thought

One of the absolute fundamental benefits of choice based art programs is the support, space and time that teachers provide children to realize and exercise their freedom of thought. Within this structure exists the realm of free inquiry, freedom of expression and free creation.
A 2nd grade student explores her ideas about color, line, composition and rhythm in a tempera painting.
Sounds easy but implementing a structure for freedom within institutions that seek to control inputs,  outputs and children's actions is a bit of a paradox. Do children co-construct the curriculum in other subject areas within American K-12 education? Unless children attend a private independent school, in today's high stakes standardized test mandated K-12 education climate that answer for the most part is no.

A hallmark of any educational institution or democratic society is how it provides learners with opportunities to develop their innate talents, gifts and passions as free human beings. Authorities should be challenged to this point. How does the World's most important democracy recognize humans as unique individuals and how do we educate them to operate within a free and open society?

Providing children with opportunities to co-construct learning experience provides them with opportunities to exercise free will in the context as a natural learner free from coercion and maximizes the potential of such experiences to provide new pathways to realize unique and innate human characteristics.