Book Review: Studio Thinking

Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education

If you have noticed people around the net talking about SHOM or studio habits… and wondered where it came from, then these are the books for you. There are 3 editions of this manual for the Choice-based art room. The first edition published in 2007 is great and has all the basics for understanding what the Studio Habits of the Mind are and how you can start using them in your classroom. The second edition, published in 2013, has some great updates. It expands upon many ideas and there are added chapters for exhibition, research and policy for the arts and making a case for the importance of visual arts. If you just need one, get the second edition for sure!

However, if you are looking for the most practical version, I suggest “Studio Thinking from the Start: The K-8 Art Educator’s Handbook.” This edition takes the guiding principles from the first two and shows real world examples that have worked in classrooms across the world. Published in 2018, it has hundreds of contributors, including myself. Real teachers using SHOM in real classrooms. (Check out page 38 where there is an overview of my “Around the Room” activities.)

Some important chapters in this book including curriculum planning with scope and sequence. (Chapter 4) This is often a struggle for Choice teachers who want to provide as much choice as possible, but have administrators who need to see a detailed standards-based outline of the year. There are also some great chapters on assessment and advocacy. Best of all there are some full color, kid friendly glossy posters of the Studio Habits that you can pull out and display in your classroom.

So, if you are wondering where to start with your research into the TAB/Choice-based art classroom… then “Studio Thinking” (by Lois Hetland and others) is the place to start.

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