"I am always doing that which I cannot do in order that I may learn how to do it." Pablo Picasso
What is "Growth Mindset?" This is an idea originally developed by Dr. Carol Dweck, based on the fact that our abilities and intelligence levels are not "fixed;" they can grow and improve with time and effort. When a student gives up in frustration, crumpling up the paper, they are suffering from a "Fixed Mindset" - they really believe that they simply can't draw. However, if we understand that our attitude and work habits determine success rather than our current abilities, achievement can soar! Purposefully teaching Growth vs. Fixed Mindset can help any student from age 5 - 105. Also, it helps when the teacher demonstrates how to turn a mistake into something beautiful. You don't have to start over every time you mess up!For more information, check out this article: "Dr. Dwecks discovery of fixed and growth mindsets have shaped our understanding of learning."

Art projects that help students realize they "can" do art:non-objective middle school marker designs based on line types
Non-objective style pieces such as Piet Mondrian designs, scribble designs, or Jackson Pollack action paintingSculpture based on design, not drawing skills; kids love to build with their hands!Playing games such as "Exquisite Corpse," where students collaborate to make something that is funny, not serious at allPure design assignments such as quilts, African textile designs, etc.Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain exercises such as drawing upside down or blind contour drawingHave students do a pre-instruction drawing before tackling any kind of realistic style assignment (portraits, figure drawing, landscape painting, etc.). They can compare their pre-instruction drawings to the final piece and see growth! The final piece will not be "perfect," but it will be a whole lot better than the pre-instruction piece!

On 'Messing Up,' Trial, Error, and the Creative Process, by Rachel Hessing Wintemberg

How To Get Your Students Unstuck and Out of I Can't Mode, theunstandardizedstandard, article by Amber Kane

Artists Are Re-drawing Their Old Work To Show How Much They've Improved,by Sara Barnes,

Fixed V. Growth Mindset: What Does It Mean For the Art Room?, by Tim Bogatz,

Why Helping Students Set Personal Goals Is a Must Do,by Tracy Hare,
Essential Steps To Turn Art I Students Into Artists,article by Matt Christenson,

Room To Grow, by Anna Nichols, practicing Growth Mindset in middle school through critique

Erik Wahl: The Art of Breakthrough Thinking

The Power of Belief - Mindset and Success, Eduardo Briceno,TED Talk, Youtube, recommended for high school or middle school

Embrace the Shake, Phil Hansen, TED Talk, Youtube

Finished, Not Perfect, Jake Parker,Youtube

Famous Failures,Youtube

Ira Glass on the Creative Process, Youtube

Chuck Close, Note To Self, CBS Sunday Morning,Youtube


Craftsmanship takes time, patience, and effort and is part of what goes into making our artwork look great. However, all the little imperfections are what give the piece character and make it interesting! There is no such thing as perfection in art; to err is human.

Cassie Stephens' Growth Mindset YouTube Playlist

Critique and Feedback - the Story of Austin's Butterfly - Ron Berger

Making Art Fun For a Perfectionist Kid,, article by Lotus Stewart

Class Dojo Growth Mindset Episode 1: A Secret About the Brain, Youtube (to view all 5 videos of this excellent animated series,click on this link)

Regina's Mistake; Reading Rainbow, Youtube (features a reading of the children's book as well as interviews with 3 artists)


What Do You Do With a Problem?, by Kobi Yamada, children's book read aloud by Susan Burke, YouTube

Beautiful Oops, by Barney Saltzberg, children's book, (for middle/upper elementary.. faster pace narration) Beautiful Oops, by Barny Saltzberg,for PK-1st, much slower pace)

The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds, children's book, (narrated by American man, slow)The Dot,(narrated by English woman, more animated)

Ish, by Peter H. Reynolds, children's book


The Power of Yet; Sesame Street, Janelle Monae, YouTube
Sesame Street: Sings "What I Am", Youtube

Sesame Street: Bruno Mars: Don't Give Up, Youtube

Zootopia, Try Everything(Shakira), Youtube

14 Children's Books That Promote A Growth Mindset, article Salt in His Shoes; children's book about Michael Jordan as a boy, by Deloris Jordan, Youtube

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes, by Mark Pett, Youtube

No comments: 9/2/17 Clean Up!


students from my previous school show off their artists' handsThis past May, I left behind my middle school classroom of 13 years at a large public school to be the art teacher at my son's very small private Christian school. I am closer to home, I get to teach all grade levels K4-12th grade, and I am only a few doors and one flight of steps away from my son! It is my dream job, but there have been a few surprises! I have a whole new respect for elementary classroom teachers, as well as elementary art teachers.

Being an elementary "specials" teacher has opened my eyes to some unique challenges! I was used to seeing my students every day, but now I don't have much time with them. If there are any behavior issues, it takes much longer to iron out the creases. There is just a completely different dynamic to the elementary art classroom, especially when you are the new teacher!

One of the biggest changes in dynamic has been the clean up routine. At my previous school, I didn't allow anyone to leave until the room was restored to order, dismissing the first ones to clean up thoroughly after I did my "inspection." The kids were highly motivated to go see their friends between classes, so they desperately wanted to be dismissed... sometimes I would hold kids after the bell if they didn't do a good job. Middle school kids also didn't want to be marked tardy to their next class so this was a pretty effective motivator.

Elementary kids? Now that's a different story!They want to STAY in Art class as long as possible, and will pretend they don't hear the teacher at all when clean up time is announced.Getting little kids to put away art materials is a challenge, to say the least. They are enjoying art, happily gluing or drawing or coloring. They are loving it so much that it has been necessary to figure out a variety of ways to motivate them to stop! Attention getters are great ("Classity class class!" ... "If you can hear my voice, clap one time," etc.), but kids need a reason to actually put down the materials. External motivators, here we come!

Since it is a small school, the classes are manageable. I know about whole class reward systems (star charts, clip charts, etc.), but I really wanted to focus more on individual or small group behaviors at the beginning of the year.So, I relentlessly documented behaviors for each student, carrying around a clip board and making a list of kids who were doing the right thing so their classroom teacher could award them a Dojo point for "Great Art Classroom Behavior," and talking to individual students about their behavior. I did this for every class,from day one. However, I didn't want theclassroom teacherto be the one responsible for what happened in Art! I am more of a partner with the classroom teacher than I was at the middle school, but I take full responsibility for managing the class while they are in my room! The kids need to learn to respect the art teacher's authority just as much as they respect their classroom teacher's.

A third grade group cuts up a patterned square after viewing The Perfect Square, a children's book by Michael Hall (on Youtube). The assignment was to use all the pieces to make something new, just like the square did in the video. The square of paper was patterned with the frottage technique one day, and then made into something new the next class period. I called this project, "Frottage Collage!"
One of the first strategies I tried was having the cleanest table group line up first - being first in line is a coveted privilege, right? For some groups it was effective, especially K4, K5, and 3rd grade. For everyone else, this plan bombed. They ignored me completely when I announced, "I am looking for the table group who is cleaning up the fastest!" Then, when we finally got in line to wait for their classroom teacher, the kids argued about lining up in number order, or who was supposed to be line leader, or door holder, etc. Every classroom teacher has their own method for lining up the kids; any other arrangement is met with protest!

The second strategy I tried was using my "teacher voice" to call out individual students who were not following instructions to clean up. This strategy was pretty effective, but one second grader piped up, "We got in trouble just because we didn't clean up?!"In my mind, I was thinking, "Really?" ButI leaned down and calmly told him in a low voice, "You need to do what the teacher tells you to do; not following instructions is disobeying." (Things that make you go, "Hmmmmm...")

Next, at the beginning of class everyone practiced the clean up routine a couple of times until we got it right. I dumped out a box of supplies at each table, coached them to work together as a team to put them back, and we practiced lining up calmly and quietly, sometimes repeatedly. You would think that the kids would do a better job at cleaning up after that, right? They did, but only for that day. The next time we met for class the routine spiraled down into chaos, again. I see all my elementary classes twice each week except for 5th and 6th grade who only meet once. They should have remembered what to do! Positive motivation and repetition can only go so far, sometimes a firm consequence is in order.

Finally, I printed out some tickets on colored paper. The green tickets have a picture of a bear with his paw raised up in a "High Five," and a caption that says, "I did grrreat in Art class today!" (I got this idea from Kim Brodie Metro - thank you, Kim!) The red tickets are smaller and printed with captions such as, "I need to practice following instructions at clean up time," or, "I need to practice obeying the first time," etc. (idea from Maggie Moschell - thank you, Maggie!) I told the kids (1st grade - 4th) that they would go home with either a red ticket or a green ticket that day, that the choice was theirs. Finally, they began taking things a little more seriously.

3rd grade student's new creation after cutting up his "perfect square;" work in progressThe music teacher saw the tickets on my desk and thought they were a good idea - she asked if I handed them to the kids or to their teacher. I give the red notes directly to the teacher, who staples the note inside the child's planner. (For more severe behavior issues, I call or email parents directly. I don't want to rely on a written note that could just be covertly thrown away by the child.)

The next strategy I will pull out of my toolbox will be a whole class reward system where the group can earn points toward a Free Art Day. Finally, if there are any kids who continue to act up, I will pull out my discipline assignments. I think by the fourth week of school and four, five, or six art classes there has been plenty of opportunity for the kids to learn the ropes!

I know it will take time for me to establish the structure I want; it's only been three weeks after all!It has been really interesting to see how well my new elementary students do at the beginning of class and during the lesson. The issues seem to always arise during clean up! As the new teacher, I know that I need to be patient - kids are testing me to see exactly where the art classroom boundaries are. Rome wasn't built in a day! It will take consistent discipline on my part, a balance of positive motivators as well as consequences for misbehavior, and developing good relationships with my students.

Classroom management is extremely important, and worth all the extra effort it takes to provide a safe and structured learning environment. The structure just has to be built one little bit at a time.

"Note Home:" document was printed out on green paper (idea from Kim Metro)
"Note Home:" document was printed on red paper (idea from Maggie Moschell)

Author's note: I have not yet used a whole class reward system. Instead, I look for a mystery artist during clean up, watching to see if this particular student does all the things required. If so, that kid gets a special note home along with a small prize! This is the most effective strategy yet - the kids have no idea if they are the mystery artist or not and it motivates all the kids to do a good job!

article by Mrs. Anna Nichols

1 comment: 4/16/17 TAB CHOICE LEARNING, PART II, by Shelly Baileyphoto from Shelly's video, TABS Choice LearningSo here was the challenge: how can I create a studio environment that is effective for middleschool?

I told the kids I was going to stop teaching (teacher pause).loud student cheering. like I have been teaching. I will now only teach about 10 minutes each day.

"Huh? What was that? What do you mean?" they said.

"You will now get to choose what kind of art YOU want to create! Anything you want... BUT it has to get approval from me. This will be difficult to do, but I think you are smart and up for that challenge!"

I realized it was all in the buy-in. Did they buy in to this way of creating art? I was determined to make them think it was the most amazing thing in the world.

I structured everything into the "Eight Studio Habits of Mind." The book, StudioThinking 2, by Lois Hetland, Ellen Winner, Shirley Veenema, and Kimberly M. Sheridan, illustrates this way of thought best. The Studio Habits are as follows:

photo credit; Pinterest.com1. Understanding Art Worlds:
Domain: Learning about art history and current practice.Communities: Learning to interact as an artist with other artists (i.e., in classrooms, inlocal arts organizations, and across the art field) and within broader society.

2. Stretch and Explore:
Learning to reach beyond ones capacities, to explore playfullywithout a preconceived plan, and to embrace the opportunity to learn from mistakes andaccidents.

3. Reflect:
Question and Explain: Learning to think and talk with others about an aspect ofones work or working process.
Evaluate: Learning to judge ones own work andworking process, and the work of others in relation to standards of the field.

4. Observe: Learning to attend to visual contexts more closely than ordinary lookingrequires, and thereby to see things that otherwise might not be seen.

5. Develop Craft:
Technique: Learning to use tools (e.g., viewfinders, brushes), materials(e.g., charcoal, paint); learning artistic conventions (e.g., perspective, color mixing)Studio Practice: Learning to care for tools, materials and space.

6. Engage and Persist: Learning to embrace problems of relevance within the art worldand/or of personal importance, to develop focus and other mental states conducive toworking and persevering at art tasks.

7. Envision: Learning to picture mentally what cannot be directly observed and imaginepossible next steps in making a piece.

8. Express: Learning to create works that convey an idea, a feeling, or a personalmeaning.

photo from Shelly's video, TABS Choice LearningIn the book, the authors present the Habits of Mind in an oval because they believe they arenon-hierarchical, so none logically come first or last. The belief is that these should not be taught ina set sequence. Any habit can begin a project and should create a dynamic generative energy.

So, the first step was designing my space - I needed flow! I didnt needstudents constantly bumping into each other and I made sure to put my "Painting," "Sculpture and Mask Making," and "Clay" stations closest to my sinks. My "Digital Media" needed to be asfar away from anything liquid as possible. I also was selective about how many students I would allow at each station. I needed to get in my head a maximum number of kids I wanted to work at "Sculpture."

You are still only one person. This type of teaching makes you feel like an octopus, mind you! I decided I would only allow one student at a time at "Clay." This is a personalpreference. I only let three in "Sculpture," four in "Drawing," and so forth. This is something you willhave to determine yourself on what you can manage and the number of students in your classas well as how many different type of stations you set up. I also close some stations down. Imay not have had the opportunity to demonstrate that area yet. So, until I get to a lesson thatteaches students how to use it, RED light on that area.

Now comes the teaching part. The key is 5-10 minute popcorn lessons. There is a time and aplace for long lessons. This is an exploratory type of learning. Again, you are there to guideand push THEIR creativity.

photo credit: Shelly BaileyDemonstrate different media. Show them how to create a printing foamplate, ink a plate, describe the tools and their proper names. Make lots of posters to hang overeach section. Label the parts of a brush and so forth. When you speak to the kids, referencetheir tools by the proper names. Remind them to read the binders at each table for information.I provide tablets and Chromebooks for students to use as reference tools as well as tons oflesson books, text books, and a variety of picture examples.

I try very hard to not answer theirquestions. Yes, I have become that teacher who answers a question with a question! This wayof teaching is VERY exciting for students BUT very hard. It will frustrate them a great dealbecause they dont want to sit and listen to you but they also dont want to explore the answersthemselves. They want you to tell them how or do it for them. Resist the urge to do this. It isnot about you, but about them and how well they are absorbing the process.

TAB or ChoiceBased Learning is all in the process!

TAB stands for TEACHING for ARTISTIC BEHAVIOR.TAB recognizes the student as an artist. That word is important to use. This will build selfconfidence and self esteem. They are to design their own work. This helps a student tounderstand what they are doing to become more vested in the end result.I cant tell you how many times students get ten minutes into a project and come to me and askif they can move to another station. My answer is always emphatically, "No."

I will NEVER let astudent give up.

photo credit: Shelly BaileyIt is always super important to help direct their thoughts without doing the workfor them. Reference them to samples, send them to teacher approved Youtube channels,demonstrate personally. Ask them open ended questions. None of those "Yes/No" answers! The beauty of this way of teaching is that students can work at their own pace. I had to throw mass production and tons of completed work "out the window!" Some students spend 5 weeks onone project. I have no problem with this if they are engaged and always working.

The idea is about quality and understanding, not about quantity. The reality is that you are always going to getsomeone who decides they are just going to sit and do nothing and drag it out. Let me remindyou that you are not giving "Gs" for "Good" in middle school. You are giving grades. So, how doyou grade if you have a student who only makes two projects for a semester and another whoproduces five?The answer is simple: daily class participation grades. Yes, that is very elementary! However, you have to be aware of what is going on in your room. You can not sit at your deskand answer emails and get wrapped up in writing a lesson plan. You have to pay attention at alltimes to what is happening in your room; more specifically, what your students have done tostay on task. I will redirect a few times but then I remind my students that if I see them notworking, it is a zero for the day.

photo credit; Shelly BaileyI am an all or nothing kind of gal, too. Coloring one section ofyour piece that is the size of a quarter does not equate 100% participation for the day. I will givea zero for that. They always panic when they see they dont have a 100 in art. You will hear,Will I move to the next grade if I fail your class? The answer is not one you want to advertiseas being a "yes." This is something they need to get used to. As I am also the teacher at thehigh school and I am trying to prepare them for a more intense grading system when theyjoin me over there. I spend the majority of my day teaching 9th-12th graders. I travel at the veryend of the day to teach one course at the middle school. I would love to see them have a fulltime art teacher at both schools. However, right now that is not in the cards. So I do the best Ican to prepare the students I do have at the middle school for high school life and try to "unbaby" them.

So, how does a day look? I start with a popcorn lesson. It may be a demonstration aboutdifferent drawing tools and how to use them. The parts of a brush, how to use watercolor paintand different techniques, one point perspective, using paper mache, or how to create a pinchpot. You get the idea!

I go full on elementary level with them. It works! I sit in a chair and makemy students sit around me on the floor. This guarantees I have their full attention. If I need todemonstrate, I will set up a small table in front of them or an easel.

Students are also required to create a plan before they can create. The first time we began, Iwrote each childs name on a piece of paper and drew their name from a bowl. They got tochoose where they wanted to go. This was a lottery system of sorts to get them started. As studentsbegin to finish projects they come to me and ask which station is open and where could they gowork.

photos from Shelly's video, TABS Choice Learning

I have paper plans for the kids to fill out and they are required to create a sketch of what theywant to make. I have to initial this plan before they can begin work. I make them save ALLplans and sketches. I have folders for each class. This is a great way to assess their progress.This is what I love about TAB teaching. You can really see student growth and development.

Iam going to be honest. My kids really get frustrated because my standards are very high. Theywant to draw a person and bring me a cartoon. I make them start again and go read books onproper proportions and watch videos. Then I will sit with the student and help them step by stepperiodically. When students finish their final piece they always have to fill out an artiststatement form. It is important they still understand the elements of art andprinciples of design. They have to have a title for their art and be able to explain theirinspiration. Its one thing to make art, but they also have to be able to talk about it. Since I adopted TAB teaching, I have noticed the students get very excited when they finish a piece! They revert back to that first gradechild who splits their face in half with a smile when I hug them and tell them what a wonderfuljob they did and how much they learned in the process. I always point out their struggles andhow they overcame.

photo from Shelly's video, TABS Choice Learning

I have far fewer discipline issues. Students are doing what they want to do so they areengaged. You will still always have something that happens in class. It is almost impossible todevelop a perfect group of 20+ hormonal preteens/teens. However, they are old enough to understand sarcasm. I will say my own teenagers taught me many things over the years.When they show out, I shut them down. I have no problem teasing a child into submission. It isall in how you do it though. They have to know you love them. You cant make fun of a kid andit come across as mean. They have to see your heart behind your eyes. For example, my kids arevery smart. BUT, they still want to do as little as humanly possible and look for the easiestsolution to creating something. They will bring me a sketch and I will ask them if they are 5 or12? They always grin and drop their head. They know. Meaning.they know I am on to them.They have gotten to where they come to me and I just say no to a drawing and point to theresource center.

I have heard so many times from my other students, You know that is notcomplicated enough for her! You have to go put more stuff in your drawing. OR That doesntlook real enough. They have started helping each other. That is the most amazing thing towitness because they are peer helping. They are critiquing each others work. Which issomething you want to happen. The beauty is, it naturally happens if you stick to highstandards.

I push them like high school students. They are very capable. They go throughsome sort of process in art with me now. They dont like me at first. Who is this woman who isalways telling me I need to do more? This is soooooo hard! But half way though they all get abreak through. By the end they dont want to leave and see me in the halls now and tell me howmuch they miss art.

They miss ART, yall!! Deep breath, sigh.


After all, arent we allteaching art because we love it and are trying to teach others to appreciate the arts?Now back to the reality. Do I have students I struggle with? Who I wish I could pinch? Sure. Istill have to write students up. This didnt cure all misbehavior. Everyone has experienced thatone student no matter how hard you try, has a chip on their shoulder and works super hard tobe bad. I just have to tell myself they are children, no matter how large they are.

photo credit: Shelly BaileyLastly, their work is very impressive. I love the surprise I experience regularly about differenttalents my kids possess. It doesnt take long for the kids to find out they thrive in painting butdont like weaving. Or, that they love the thrill of having messy hands with starch as they build an amazingcreation or dislike the tedious nature of hand stitching. Or, it could be just the opposite. Theyhate being messy but love the detail work of hand stitching or weaving. They really are exploringa lot of different media! If they have an idea and it doesnt fit the mold somewhere, I am always opento listening and trying to help them work out a plan to complete it.

The key here is to try andexpose them to as much as possible and allow them to explore.Not all classrooms will work this way. I have too much to teach at the high school to operate aclassroom like this at that level. However it works beautifully at the middle school. I suppose Ido a version of choice at my advanced Art 3 and Art 4 levels at the high school. Elementaryschool might choose to do TAB days. You dont have to set up an entire room to TAB teachingto still use this method. You can have just a few centers set up. Make up a "Fun Friday" on theelementary level. Create a sticker chart where a class has to earn a certain number of stickersfor good behavior. Once they have achieved the right number, give them a Fun Friday and do aversion of TAB centers. Get creative on how you explore this method. I personally love it andwill not go back to my old way at the middle school level. It just works way too well and mystudents are so much more pleasant and producing amazing pieces of art. TAB is a new way oflife for me and one I love so very much!

If you have any questions or would like me to share any lessons or documents with you I amhappy to email you what I have.

Many Blessings and Happy Creating!

Shelly Bailey

Below is a video Shelly created about the process of transforming a middle school art classroom into a TAB studio environment: "Shelly Bailey TABS Choice Learning"

helpful links:
Tab-ChoiceArtEd Yahoo Groups
Art of Apex Portal

article by Mrs. Shelly Bailey

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MANAGING THE ART CLASSROOMA COLLECTION OF CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT RESEARCH, CONVERSATIONS, AND ADVICE BY ELEMENTARY, MIDDLE, AND HIGH SCHOOL ART TEACHERS. This website is a "not for profit" educational blog, designed to serve art teachers by providing relevant information about classroom management, art advocacy, and teaching art in Alabama.
Our mission is to facilitate ways for art teachers to work together to help one another thrive. We believe this is vital for the future of art education, not just in Alabama, but everywhere.
All comments are based on the opinions of the authors. We make no representation that you should put any of the quoted classroom management advice into practice if your current administration disagrees with the teaching and/or discipline strategies described.

Every effort has been made to protect the privacy of teachers who volunteered their comments and ideas. Identifying names are used only with permission.

If you wish to use any content or photographs from this site, you are welcome to do so as long as you provide a line of credit as well as link the content back to this site. Photographs, unless otherwise noted, are owned by Anna Nichols. Anna Nichols, 2013. Travel theme. Powered by Blogger.


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