TAB Institute 2018

For years I have wanted to attend the TAB Institute. This summer I finally made it! Run by the founding gurus of TAB (Teaching for Artistic Behavior) Diane and Kathy, the week long training includes lots of discussion and hands on learning. Since it has sold out quickly in the past few years, I jumped on the registration as soon as it opened. I am so glad that I did!

My school year was exhausting and a bit demoralizing. Luckily my personal emotional and physical health were being well maintained by my new(ish) life style changes so it wasn’t the end of my career. But it was bad enough it could have gone that way if I hadn’t created those important changes. Thankfully the TAB institute was ready to give me the reframing boost I needed for my professional practice.

Shortly after registration, I was invited to be a guest presenter at the Institute. Kathy and Diane wanted me to share my Around the Room activities with the institute attendees. Honored and excited, I prepared for that portion of instruction to be part of my learning experience. But a week before the trip, I was called and asked if I could possibly step in to substitute for the middle school level instructor. Nan had a family emergency that would prevent her from attending. Since I had yet to even attend the institute, it seemed a bit daunting to step in as the instructor. But I said yes! Then did what I could to prepare.

This year the institute had over 80 participants, 4 groups by teaching levels and 3 big art studios set up in TAB style. We had a panel presentation from some wonderful diverse artists, small group work time, a student art show, lots of studio time to create and a final teacher art show. We had opportunities to hear from the wise and wonderful Kathy Douglas, we had time to rethink our practice with insightful questions from newbies, museums were visited, and new friends were made. The dorm beds were horrible, but good food and lots of think time thoughtfully interspersed with time to create made the sleepless nights fairly tolerable. (I also supplemented my bed with some low priced but high value Target purchases.)

Being a first time TAB Institute student and the facilitator /instructor was a little tricky to juggle at times, especially with less than a week this prepare. I was worried that people would feel cheated to have me, instead of Nan, to guide them. But overall the feedback I received is that I was an acceptable substitute.  Many loved the opportunity to experience my paint and artistic habits around the room activities. I heard that reading about them and even hearing about them at convention was not as good as experiencing them hands-on.

Needless to say, it was an amazing experience and I have a lot of new information to revamp my practice for new year. There will be quite a few future posts to share in detail my new discoveries.

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Why the Hiatus?

WOW… have I really not updated since 2017? I guess I took an unintended hiatus. Here’s why.

It was a rough school year. The kids seem to get harder and harder every year in our urban, high poverty, high trauma school. Plus on top of having rough kids this year…

I had to be packing, purging and prepping to move into a little, regular classroom for our school remodel. I actually started purging back in January 2017… with over 150 cupboards and drawers, plus 2 large storage closets.. I had a lot of stuff to examine. It was a good process to really see what supplies I had and what I really needed. The kiln will be in deep storage for a year plus. Lots of other media will be on hold due to lack of sinks and storage. Since I love color coding, all my packing was color coded too. Hopefully all the extra time I spent packing and labeling will pay off in the unloading and set up process in September.

PLUS I finally got back into doing my OWN ART at home. After reading “The Artist’s Way” over winter break I got back into the studio making art. I made some new work and entered some art shows. This is a quilt called “No More Empty Desks.” It chronicles the statistics of school shootings since 1998. It was part of the Math + Art Show at the Schack Art Center in my hometown.

On top of getting my creative life realigned, I continued working on my physical health. Working out consistently for pretty much the first time in my adult life meant that I wasn’t staying at school for hours and hours after the end of day. Eating healthy and making some lifestyle changes have allowed me to lose over 50 pounds in the past year. It also meant that I created a new level of balance between my work and home life.

Of course, in addition to school, health and art it was a very busy year with the Washington Art Education Association. We hosted the national convention (NAEA) in our home city, Seattle. It was a blast and a lot of work. My state co-presidency will wrap up this October, just in time for me to transition into a new co-presidency for the NAEA Choice-Art Special Interest Group.

All that to say, I haven’t posted much because my priorities changed a bit this year. BUT, I have some exciting new things happening soon so I will return to some posts about school, art, TAB, writing, and how to make kids into awesome little artists while also nurturing my inner little artist. It is going to be a fun summer!

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Inside, Outside, Upside Down

This is a new theme I tried with my 7th and 8th graders this year. I was inspired by “Stranger Things” and the upside down world there. We looked at Surrealistic artwork and how those artist created unique worlds that included these concepts. (students were not required to use surrealism.) We started with brainstorm and planning/research phases, then rough draft and final drafts. I got a lot of basic landscapes, and 1-point perspective rooms. But some of the other work was very interesting and deep. Here are a few of my favorites. (Click on the images to see a larger version)

“Reality is Different” Watercolor and Pencil

My artwork shows the them of outside and upside-down. This is because she is pretending to be someone she’s not personality wise, and is looking at the real her in the reflection. In my piece of art you can see that the real reflection of her is upside down, and showing off the her outside personality is fake. You can also see that her real self is melting away the more that she thinks that this fabulous fantasy is real. These are the type of things show how we all sometimes have expectations of ourselves, but somethings are better if we leave them alone. Therefore, this evidence shows my theme on outside and upside-down. J.C. 7th gr

Bubble Boy Watercolor

My artwork shows the theme of outside because it shows a boy in a bubble floating over buildings. In my art you can see a billboard on top of one of the buildings. This evidence shows my theme of outside because billboards are sometimes on the rooftops of some buildings. You can also see that he’s in a bubble preventing him from falling to the ground. These are the type of things that help people understand that the theme is outside because bubbles float in the air and if the bubbles are big enough to hold someone then the bubble takes them wherever the wind goes. O.B. 7th gr

On the Inside Mixed Media Collage/  Shadow Box

My artwork, shows the theme of Inside. This is a colorless boy with a red heart. In my art you can see a boy in a box with no color except his heart. You can also see the box has color on the outside, showing the boy is being neglected from the colorful world outside the box. This evidence shows my theme of Inside because the boy is inside the box, away from society, with his heart the only color left in the box, inside him. T.C. 7th gr

Upside Down Mixed Media/ Collage/ Watercolor/ Ink

This piece of art shows the theme of upside down. I believe this fits the theme because of how you can interpret many ways. Like what way is the right side up, or which way is the water flowing in the art? In the piece you can see water flowing and splashing in different ways, as well as color pallet that compliments each other color. These are types of things that causes you to see it on different ways, or whatever way you want to interpret it. All in all, this shows the theme of upside down. S. H. 7th Gr

Inside and Outside are Upside Down /Digital

My artworks hows the theme of inside and outside being destroyed. This is the inside and outside of an office. In my art you can see a man being pulled into a black hole with the carpet. You can also see a black hole outside. These are the type of things that show the inside and outside of an office being destroyed. This evidence shows my theme of the inside and outside of an office being destroyed. S.B. 8th gr

Mermaid/ Pencil

My artwork shows the theme of inside & outside. For example in my art you can see a mermaid, with long hair; who is sitting all alone on the moon. You can also see she is slowly decaying and flowers are growing on her dying body(i thought about how people put flowers on a grave). She is disappearing in the universe looking at earth wishing to swim in the ocean waters again as well. This evidence shows how i displayed the theme of inside & outside. R.D. 8th gr

You can see more of this theme on our Artsonia.

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Lesson Plans

This post is a bit of a confessional…

For 15+ years I have been operating without the added task and pressure of submitting weekly lesson plans to admin. But this year they have decided to implement a district-wide lesson plan format and requirements.

My previous planning has been substantial. I am a planner. I am an organizer. And I love technology, planners and forms. In fact, if you ask me to design a form, you will set my heart on fire. But if you ask me for unnecessary paperwork, and give me a clunky form to do it on…. I will get a little passive aggressive!  I will redesign your lame forms and  I will bury you in paperwork!

Luckily I do have a great relationship with my building admin. So I could joke with her about redesigning her form. We also negotiated that the power points that I make for each unit and my weekly calendar satisfy the intended purpose of the lesson plan form. The purpose of which is to ensure that teachers are doing backward planning, preparing engaging activities that will successfully lead students to the desired learning outcomes. But since I fixed their form, and I know that a lot of other teachers out there in TAB art world struggle with their required lesson plans, I thought I would go ahead and do them for all of my current around the room units.

Click on the links below to download a PDF of my Around the Room Lesson Plans using my district format. (I will add here as I go along)

BLANK Unit Plan Click for a BLANK word document that YOU can use for your lesson planning

Draw exploration Unit Plan

Collage exploration Unit Plan


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My TAB Centers

I have been doing different levels of T.A.B. Modified- Choice since I found TAB in 2004. So my centers have gone thru some different phases. In the next two years there will be more changes as I move into a temporary classroom during our remodel and eventually into my new classroom. This post will provide some links to different posts about my center set up.






Computer/ Technology




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