Inspired by MANY of my sessions at NAEA, I have created a Modified TAB Unit for my 8th graders. I attended many TAB related sessions and got reinspired to integrate these ideas into my classroom. Assignments had become more and more teacher directed (mostly due to our evaluation systems and district requirements) and less student directed. TAB Sessions reminded me that I prefer a student centered studio. I also went to a cool session on making things more “GAME” like. Based on video games, where kids progress through skills levels, earn points, tools, skills and rewards, Jim Odonnell created a studio challenge for his (college) level students. I have adapted that for my Middle School Students.
They will be choosing from a menu of choices and trying to build up points. There are Power Boosts and Experience Boosts that they can ADD to challeges to earn more points. Here is the form I created for my students, it is adapted from the one that Jim shared at the NAEA conference. studio challenge checklist
Usually, I do theme based assignments where kids choose their medium. So they need some scaffolding to move to more choices.
For this challenge, Kids get a leveled menu of projects and experiments. And they pick which ones they want to do, trying to accumulate 150 points in the 3 week period. Level one and two are experiment type activities with medium. For example, paint center level 2 challenge, make a color wheel using only red, blue and yellow. Level 3-5 are more like projects, draw a still life using value to show form. Expert level kids get to design their own… To become expert they must finish all 5 activities in the same center, or get teacher approval to skip levels. (This is mostly for my kids that I have had for all 3 years and I know they already have the basic skills) For this first 3 week challenge I have drawing, collage, paint, sculpture and computer centers open. I told the kids if it goes well… We will continue for the rest of the year opening new centers each 3 weeks. (We go till June 18th)
What do your centers look like?
How do you open them and introduce the expectations to your students?