The Set Up
In our art studio, our learning space is organized into centers. Centers are hubs for certain types of materials, organized by their most-commonly associated media. Centers often "open" one at a time, feature a variety of different art materials, and are organized, safe places for students to take creative risks and have fun exploring!
At any given moment, in our art studio there could be any of the following centers open:
My job as the teacher is to explain safety information and the expectations for caring for the materials in new centers.
The students' job is to explore and experiment with the materials. Together, students and I give demonstrations with specific directions, practice work, and work on larger projects.
The main goal for the centers in our Art Studio is for them to be a safe place where they can productively struggle. They know what they absolutely need to know, and are encouraged to discover more on their own through a variety of strategies. Through the structure of the Studio Habits of Mind, the student artists learn to make the most out of every learning opportunity throughout the creative process.
What It Looks Like
Drawing will be the first center to open. Students may be drawing a self-portrait while looking in a mirror, experimenting with drawing in different styles, or sketching ideas for a graphic novel. They may draw from observation, or draw collaboratively with those around them.
Collage is a good center for more tactile learning. Arranging and layering shapes, ripping paper, and creating pleasing compositions is a common experience at collage. Collage has a variety of textures, patterns, and shapes and oftentimes our collages use recycled and reused materials! We love accepting donations for collage center and are particularly jazzed when we receive scrapbook papers, stickers, and school appropriate magazines.
3D Lab is always exciting! Whether it's bridges being built from wooden blocks, foam interlocking shapes creating spaceships, huge buildings being constructed out of straws and connectors, or giant marble runs built from collaboration, 3D Lab is action-packed and entertaining. We love receiving legos, duplo blocks, Lincoln logs, magna-tiles and other gently-loved tools and materials.
The Painting center is filled with color mixing, layering, and movement. A bit of messiness is to be expected at painting! Common choices for materials are watercolors, acrylics, temperas, and specialty paints.
More descriptions coming soon!
Around the Room
Influenced by Cynthia Gaub's activities, we participate in Around the Room activities soon after a center opens. This way, students are onboarded quickly with information regarding tools, materials, and expectations. An example of student documentation is shown below: