Monthly Mentor

Natalie C. Jones (February)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Natalie C. Jones is an artist, small business owner, and the director of education at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. She has 10 years of experience working as an art teacher and teaching artist throughout the east coast and the Midwest. Click "GO" to read her full bio.



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September 01, 2016

Envisioning Studio Thinking

From: Holly Bess Kincaid

Teachers are constantly learning and growing throughout their careers. We love to learn! During the summer of 2014, I was fortunate to join fellow fine art educators from Virginia on the campus of George Mason University for the Virginia Center for Excellence in Education’s week long Leadership Seminar. Our time was filled with discussions about educational law, teacher leadership and I was introduced to concepts from the book Studio Thinking 2: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education.

One of our professors during the week was Kimberly M. Sheridan who is one of the authors of Studio Thinking 2. The week’s discussions helped me to add a framework to the way I teach my students to learn to think like artists. In my classroom, I encourage my students to improve their artistic skills, their studio habits and provide my students’ a choice in how they develop their visual voice.

As the new school year gets underway, I am investigating new ways to build on the Studio Habits taught in my classroom while reflecting on my own practice. Throughout September, I will be sharing strategies from my classroom that encourage students in the Eight Studio Habits of Mind: Observe, Reflect, Stretch and Explore, Understand Art Worlds, Develop Craft, Engage and Persist, Envision, and Express.

Studio%20Habits%20Studio Habits Bulletin Board

The Studio Habits can also guide art educators through self-reflection on our educational practice. During the summer, I took time to ENVISION and imagine the new school year. I reorganized my classroom for easier access for students to use materials of choice, creating studio centers and a 3D printer makers’ space, along with developing new curriculum units to support studio thinking. We set the tone for the artistic explorations our students will experience in the classroom studio environment. Each new school year begins with students and teachers imagining the potential in new lessons, strategies, and materials. What have you done over the summer that has helped you to reflect or envision a great year?

Diptic of images from the Capitol of Creativity



Talitha Kiwiet

This summer I  created a new display for emphasizing the art elements that help accentuate an artist's ideas. I want to teach my students  to interpret the message behind a work of art and finally to begin to develop their own artistic  voice.

Katy Hypes

Over the summer I reworked my curriculum to be a little less rigid in delivery. I have gone as paperless as an art room can go. Students transpose Google Classroom informative sessions into their sketchbooks and develop all ideas within the book. It's very freeing to not have to use the copy machine at all. You'd be amazed at the extra time I have in my room.

Katy Hypes

Oh! And I got rid of my junk collection shelf and turned it into a Art Books Library. Our school's library was "out of room" when a family donated forty new art books. So I found a home for those, and a couple hundred of my own that were taking up space elsewhere.

Holly Bess Kincaid

Thank you for the comments!
Talitha: The display you described sounds wonderful, do you have it posted online anywhere that we can see what you have created for the students?

Katy- I love the transition to using technology to really help with ways to manage an art room and lesson the waste of paper copies! How blessed you are to have 40 new art books donated for an in house art library. My students love to be able to dive into their own interests through art books. What are some of the favorite titles/authors of books that were donated?

Holly Bess Kincaid

I found Talitha's great display on twitter! I adore the light up question mark to encourage students to ask questions! Now, that is a BRIGHT idea! Check out her display here:

Tomica Lake

I've worked on revising and enhancing my curriculum for the new school year.

Tomica Lake

I've worked on revising and enhancing my curriculum for the new school year.

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