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Re: Art Centers


Date: Thu Feb 26 2004 - 04:03:46 PST

In a message dated 2/26/04 6:36:35 AM, writes:

> I can't imagine that the ideas of centers would be productive for an
> extended period of time.
> Think of yourself, without instruction and ideas other than your own, how
> long would it take you, as an adult (with experience), to exhaust your own
> resources.
>  Isn't that the whole idea behind teachers, mentors and apprentices?
> Isn't that why we have artednet? We run out of ideas and need instruction
> and inspiration.
> Children need it all the more.
> Patti in Fl.

In a choice-based centers classroom the students are given very brief
introductions of materials and/or processes _each_ week. All students are required
to attend the demonstrations, which are highly organized, succinct
"traditional" expositions of information. The material/process, with some complicated
exceptions is then available in a related, permanent center for the rest of the
year; sometimes for the rest of the time the students are in the school.
Explanatory informatiion ( menus of materials, procedural steps, fine art
reproductions, vocabulary, student examples) are displayed in the well organized
centers. Materials are available and students are coached on return of materials
to the center. John Crowe of Mass College of Art calls a well designed
center "a three dimensional lesson plan." After the demo, students may choose to
work on the new idea or go to one of the centers to work independently. If
a student comes with no idea (and we all are like that some times as artists!)
then the default is the student works with the new idea, as in a
"traditional" art classroom. Usually about 8 students choose to work on the new concept
and that gives the teacher a small core group to offer more complete
information and additional help. The teaching continues with that group for the entire
time as they work. At the end of class that group shares their progress with
the whole class and agrees to coach students who may with to try working that
way in the future. In a choice-based classroom the centers are not a filler
or reward. The centers are a way of organizing the studio so that students
can find what they need so that they can make their own art work. The full
studio setting allows students to plan their art work in advance of the class and
to organize their time in a productive manner. Extensive information about this
approach to authentic student-centered art making is available at our three
websites. Take a look!
 kathy douglas ---