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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Teaching for Artistic Behaviors


I just received this month's issue of Arts & Activities magazine and right there on page 14 is an article all about choice-based art at the high school level.  I received an email a few months back from Nan Hathaway asking if I would contribute an article to the magazine. I knew right away what I wanted to write about, teaching Artistic Behavior units.

What's an Artistic Behavior unit you ask? Well, its a unit based on how artists think and work. When I first started teaching high school, I based my units on media (painting unit, printing unit, ceramics unit, etc). However, I quickly realized this was too limiting. Next, I created units based on the elements and principles of art. (i.e. instead of a painting lesson i would teach a unit on color theory.) This was better but it still was limiting. I needed some way to teach students not just to make art but to become artists. That's when Melissa Purtee and our Apex team spent a summer coming up with the idea of Artistic Behavior units.

An Artistic Behavior unit should be designed broad enough to encompasses many different ways of thinking and making art. In the article, I describe just a few of the units including Artists Observe, Artists Steal, Artists Solve Problems and Artists are Self Learners. Click on the link here to read the article online and learn more about Artistic Behavior units.

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