I teach the tools of art in tandem with thesis statement development, where
students are challenged to declare their intent of their work. They then
direct their skills and use the P & E tools to develop that statement (think
big ideas here). Of course we look at others' works and discuss what we
think the thesis statement(s) may have been by looking at how the p & e were
used in the work. It is this combination of thesis statement and skills/P &
E development that allow my students to take ownership of their work, and
helps them to realize how and why artists make aesthetic decisions.