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    Miss Mac's Art Class Website! 


    At Sycamore, we do art differently. We use a choice-based art model called TAB. TAB stands for Teaching for Artistic Behavior and focuses on teaching children how to think like artists. They will still learn just as many art-making techniques but now they will use them to execute their own ideas, like artists do. They will have the freedom to deeply explore materials which interest them, including digital arts. I piloted this last year with some students and they LOVED it. I watched them go from passively copying predetermined steps to actively coming up with creative ideas, taking responsible risks, and engaging enthusiastically with content. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this new method, I invite you to email me at kemclaughlin@avon-schools.org so I can hear your thoughts!


    TAB Artworks: (From Right to Left) "Robot Arm" chased metal - 2nd grade, "Birds at Sunrise" mixed media - 2nd grade,
    "A Princess Painted a Tiger in the Jungle" markers - 1st grade, "Two Story Castle" metal sculpture - 2nd grade, "Deer Skull" markers - 2nd grade

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Do you still teach? 

    Absolutely! Every class, I do a five-minute standards-driven demonstration about a new technique or material so that students can begin building a toolkit of useful art-making strategies. Besides the daily demo, I also lead small-group instruction for those who are interested in going deeper into a topic I have demonstrated. I spend part of the class walking around having individual conversations about student artwork, advising on future steps, asking questions to get them thinking in other directions, and checking for understanding of concepts. No two artists are alike and this will help them get the most out of their experience in the art room.


    At the end of class, we clean up our art activities and meet on the carpet for a wrap-up activity. This could be anything from analyzing famous artworks to identifying and exploring aspects of their own creative processes. It could be discussion or written reflection. These activities usually fulfill the requirements of the reflection standards.


    Are students just doing free-draw every day?

    There are parameters early in the year but ideally, I would like to end the year with free choice. Like any major shift in thinking, it helps to take it slow. We will start off with open-ended assignments and end the year with projects which are more like independent studies. Last year I tested this out with second grade. They had to write project proposals which outlined their ideas, materials, and possible obstacles. It was wildly successful in my mind.


    What’s wrong with the old way?

    The old way involved me creating a project and teaching it step-by-step to a class of students. Their artworks may look slightly different they all look fundamentally similar. The problem with this method is that I (the teacher) am the one doing all the thinking. I generated an idea, planned it out, executed it, reflected on it, and taught it. The students are passive participants who are learning some skills but not in a manner that means anything to them. I can never plan a project which every student is enthusiastic about due to their individual personalities and interests. TAB addresses all of this. It teaches students how to BE artists. They learn to navigate the creative process from idea generation (which can be the hardest part for many!) to planning, execution to revision. And because they are creating their own ideas, they are each personally invested and focused. As a teacher of 800+ students, I love it because I feel like I’m finally getting to know who they really are and what they care about. 


    What are “Artistic Behaviors”?

    Artistic behaviors are things we all struggle with – things like persistence, risk-taking (this is a BIG one for my students), collaboration, flexible thinking, and envisioning potential obstacles. Only a handful of my students may go on to become artists, but they will all need to be creative thinkers so teaching these habits of mind are essential to 21st century life. 


    There are more Commonly Asked Questions on the TAB website here.


    I use Instagram as a way to give you a peek into the classroom. It has been a fun way for parents to get children talking about their art class. I also enjoy when parents take picture of student artwork at home and "mention" my user name (by typing @missmacsartclass in the caption or a comment) so that I can see the artworks they do outside of class!
    I am very conscious about safety and privacy. Faces will not be displayed without specific permission from a parent. Also, Instagram is designed for individuals over the age of 13. I do allow students to follow me if they have an account, however since they are under age, I will sometimes talk to them about social media safety I notice them behaving in ways that are dangerous or inappropriate. I have safety tips for social media below - please feel free to share them with your child to get the conversation started! It takes a village! If you have concerns, please email me at kemclaughlin@avon-schools.org so I can address them.
    Social Media Safety for Kids
    (a resource to help you talk to your kiddo about cyber safety when they are old enough)
    Instagram is a social media app. Social media just means that people can share things with other people online. Instagram, like Twitter and Facebook, is for people 13 and older and it is important to talk with a grown up about how to be safe online. These are good rules to follow:
    1. ALWAYS get permission from a grown up before installing an app.
    2. ALWAYS keep your account private.
    3. NEVER approve or follow users you don't know in real life. Even if their pictures make them look nice, they are still strangers!
    4. NEVER post anything you wouldn't want the whole world to see, even if your account is private. Make good choices!
    5. NEVER be afraid to ask a grown up questions about an app or to report something you see that is strange or upsetting to you.