Artists' STRETCH & EXPLORE

This year I am implementing the 8 Studio Habits of Mind.  This framework is created by Project Zero, a research group at the Harvard Education department.  Those involved with this study focused on studio thinking and from that came the studio habits of mind. You can review their website for more information on this topic here: http://www.pz.harvard.edu/projects/the-studio-thinking-project and I have all listed on my website that this blog is on under Studio Habits of Mind.

While this framework developed by contributers watching those teach in the arts these habits can be used in other disciplines and helps students gain critical thinking skills that are beneficial to their development and understanding!

The habit that my students are studying this week is Stretch and Explore! To sum it up...this habit focuses on learning to reach beyond one's capacities, explore ideas and thoughts as well as embracing the opportunity to learn from mistakes!  K-5 all participated in this lesson although Kindergarten had choice with their ideas, I limited their medium by placing charcoal pencils, crayons, oil pastels and stamps at 4 tables and let them rotate in order to explore each material.  It was fun to watch some students get new paper for each medium and some used the different mediums on the same paper which created mixed media art!  Can you say teaching moment....on mixed media art!

1st - 5th grade expanded on our Artists' Get Ideas focus from the first week of school while "stretching and exploring" with their art creation because they had drawing, painting and collage centers open!  They enjoyed the freedom to choose their medium and subject for their art piece!  We all read Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg which gave them inspiration to try their best and if they mess up they could turn that mistakes into something beautiful! This book was perfect!   I watched some students tear their paper on purpose or place a mark on their paper to see what they could create from it! I loved that they challenged themselves in that way!

Some students messed up and wanted new paper but I pushed them to keep it and find a way to make it work and problem solve through it! I was proud that some went beyond their capacity and ventured off into new subjects that they typically did not create and tried new things! I love teaching TAB/Choice style with my students because they are truly becoming artists' in their own right and using their own ideas, life, experience, imaginations, etc to create! It is truly beautiful to watch!  Before we start, I typically remind students about where they can get ideas from (surroundings, memories, emotions, nature, life, family, studying artists' styles, etc).  We do this by closing our eyes and reflecting on our practice and what we want to be inspired by for the day.  Some students come prepared with their own personal sketches or notebooks with ideas! It is great to see them thinking about art time outside of school! 

In closing, last week was an amazing week in the art room as students learned about the studio habit: Stretch and Explore! Their art was unique and creative! Check some of their work below!

Have you every used the studio habits? If so, what do you like to do with them?

Thanks for reading! You can also find my students work and blurbs from our class on my twitter @Art_IsLife and FB page Art is Life! Thanks for reading!