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NEAS Art Room Info   

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   TAB (Teaching for Artistic Behavior)


Art Studio
Nicholasville Elementary School

What is “C.H.O.I.C.E.-Based Art”?
       C.H.O.I.C.E. stands for Children Having Original, Individualized, Creative Experiences.  This Visual Arts program at NES is based on the principles and practices of the nationally recognized and research-backed “Choice-Based Art Education”, and “The Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) Partnership”.The idea is simple:  Students are artists and the classroom is their studio. Children are offered real choices for responding to their own ideas and interests through the making of art. When given the chance to explore their own ideas, passions, and interests, children often find greater meaning and relevance in their work.

How is a C.H.O.I.C.E. Studio Different?

 In many typical Art Rooms, it is the teacher who develops an idea, choosing both materials and subject matter.  The student follows step-by-step instructions to complete the “project”.  This leaves very little room for independence, creative thinking, problem-solving, and exploring.  As a result, students may become bored, frustrated, or even develop a lack of confidence in their own abilities, believing they are “just no good at art”!  

          In a C.H.O.I.C.E. Studio, there is no prescribed “project”.  Instead, the teacher offers guidance, suggestions, resources, and demonstrations for supplies and tools.  The students are regarded as artists and are free to make their own choices concerning subject matter and materials.  Independence and responsibility are encouraged, and students are taught and expected to:  Set up their own workspace;  Explore, experiment, and create original works based on their own ideas and interests;  Take care of the space and supplies available to them. 


          The C.H.O.I.C.E. Studio is arranged into carefully organized “Centers” to promote student responsibility, self-reliance, and creative experiences.  These Centers are divided by art making process and are opened one at a time throughout the year.  Basic, age-appropriate supplies are introduced first.  Over time, as students’ abilities, confidence, and independence grow, new techniques are demonstrated, and more complex materials may become available for students to discover.  

Centers Available Throughout the Year:  

*more to come*                              

Benefits of
C.H.O.I.C.E. :
* There is no “project” assigned by the teacher.  Instead, students are able to create their own Art based on things that fascinate them.

* Students are able to work at their own pace and ability level.  This helps to promote a certain comfort level in their art making – students know they can take as long as needed to complete a project, and won’t be forced to try something they aren’t ready for.  

* The teacher can individualize instruction.  Art history and new techniques that are appropriate and relevant to the student are woven in as the student works, maximizing their learning.

* Students are given the opportunity to “master” a material or technique.  In most Art Rooms, things like clay or painting may only be touched on once or twice a year.  In a C.H.O.I.C.E Studio, students are able to work with a material over and over, gaining skills and confidence.

* Students are exposed to an enormous variety of ideas and techniques throughout the year.  Even if a student never chooses to visit a specific center, he or she has still been exposed to materials, concepts, and vocabulary, and has still observed the teacher’s demonstration, and other students’ finished projects.  The student knows the center is available when he or she feels ready to explore it.

* Students find real meaning in their work and are eager to discuss and describe what they have learned.  Self-evaluation leads to further learning!

Your Child’s Art and YOU

Parents may notice that Artwork coming home may look different then the “Art Projects” seen before.  Since the C.H.O.I.C.E. Studio promotes experimenting and self-discovery, much of what your child leaves the classroom with are their explorations with different media and processes.  Call these “Practice Pieces” – not everything will be (or should be!) quality “Art- Show-Ready” products.  These “Quality Products” take time, but they WILL happen when your child gains the skills and confidence needed!  One way to develop and encourage your child’s skills and interests in their own art making is by discussing together the work being brought home.  Here are some things to keep in mind when talking to your child about their artwork:

            * What’s important to you is important to your child!  Talking about artwork together not only shows your child that his or her efforts are valued; it encourages them to continue thinking about and practicing art skills at home.  Ask your child often about their work – what they like about a piece, what they learned while making it, or what the “story” of the artwork is.  Even when a piece doesn’t look like much, your child’s thoughts and ideas about that work will amaze you!

            * Not all artwork turns out the way we wanted.  If your child seems frustrated or doesn’t like a piece, that’s OK!  Don’t try to talk them into liking it, instead ask them why they think something may have gone wrong, and what they might do differently the next time they try it.  Your child may not have been successful in their attempts, but they still learned something!    

            * As you know, children will often “obsess” over a favorite character, TV show, movie, game, etc.  This is often evident in their art making – you may notice similar art pieces, with only slight variations, coming home week after week.  As long as your child remains excited over his or her artwork… great!  (Practice makes you better!)  However, if your child seems to be losing enthusiasm over certain subject matter, it might be time to brainstorm together possible new ideas for art making.  Encourage your child to experiment with new materials, or look at art books from the library, photos, or even images on the internet to help spark new ideas!  


Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) is a nationally recognized choice-based art education approach to teaching art. Developed in Massachusetts classrooms over thirty five years, and through courses and research at Massachusetts College of Art, the Teaching for Artistic Behavior concept enables students to experience the work of the artist through authentic learning opportunities and responsive teaching.

 Choice-based art education regards students as artists and offers them real choices for responding to their own ideas and interests through the making of art.  Choice-based art education supports multiple modes of learning and assessment for the diverse needs of students. Teaching for Artistic Behavior Inc. is a grassroots organization developed by and for art teachers and serves to promote and support choice-based art education in public and private education settings. 



           * Don't forget to check out the "Artist of the Month" on the Art Room website to see some amazing work! 1 student is selected each month for their hard work and creativity on a project completed during that month.

Suggested Art Links:

Art Games!

Discover Keith Haring

Make a Picasso Head

National Gallery of Art: Art Zone

Make your own Matisse

Paint like Jackson Pollock- start clicking!

Paint like Piet Mondrian at "Mondrimat"

Detail Detectives: San Fransico Museum of Modern Art



This page contains links to outside sources.  Jessamine County Schools and Nicholasville Elementary are not responsible for any content housed/published on those sites.


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