SchoolArts Magazine

APR 2019

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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supplies for eight bags and a cabinet of surplus materials. We have two art bags each for drawing, collage, fiber arts, and paint that hang on a donated vintage coatrack in the artroom. I introduced the bags first to fifth-grade classes with the expectation that they had to com - plete the center skill builders. This is to ensure I have serious artists borrow - ing the bags. I also used this opportu- nity to encourage students to try all the centers in the studio at least once. Check Out and Check In After my first presentation of the bags to the first fifth-grade class, I had five eager faces ready for the check-out process. I was so excited about their enthusiasm, I could have cried! They scanned the QR code, completed the electronic form, and signed their promise slips. Then the one question came that I hadn't considered: "How long can we keep the bags?" I decided to approach it the way I've approached TAB and said, "You tell me." We decided to start with two days and, if they needed more time, they would let me know. The smiles on their faces were indescribable—hopeful, inspired, and grateful. Sending the bags out was like send- ing my own children to a slumber party. I couldn't wait for students to come back with the bags so I could hear all about their discoveries. They found me two days later, anxious to show me what they created. I t's the end of a 45-minute art class in a busy elementary artroom and it's time to clean up, but my stu - dents aren't ready to stop. They have ideas. They have moved to the Engage and Persist Studio Habit of Mind as described by Lois Hetland. They do not have the tools to continue their work at home and don't want to wait six days until they have art again. This is a common scenario in many artrooms. Students crave more art time. They crave more opportunities to stretch and explore with the materials. After starting to teach using the Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) approach and seeing this need, I asked myself, "How can I give them more?" Art Bags I teach in a K–5 elementary school with a population of about 900 stu - dents. To address the problem of stu- dents not having the tools they need at home, I imagined a system of bags of art supplies that students could check out and take home. At the same time, I had no funds or extra supplies, and I was concerned bags would come back with supplies missing. The school where I teach has a high-poverty popu - lation, so there was no way I could ask them to pay for the supplies. But that is exactly the reason I needed to make this dream come true. So I began researching grants, creating a design for our bags, and developing an art order for materials. Art on the Fly Thanks to a local energy company, I received a $600 grant to fund our Art on the Fly bags. We now have enough Art on the Fl Tiffany Erie M A N A G I N G T H E A R T R O O M M tudents now have the opportunit o tr he tools and materials without an direction and see what happens. Reflections Through the bags, my students now have the opportunity to try the tools and materials without any direction and see what happens. Some of them start work at home that they then bring into the studio to continue. Since starting our Art on the Fly pro- gram, the bags have been checked out thirty times by a variety of students and check-in continues to be my favorite moment. I cherish the stories and I've learned that the impact of the bags has exceeded my expectations in that stu - dents are teaching family members and family members are teaching students. I've seen collaborative pieces from students with their parents, and one student eagerly exchanged a drawing bag for the fiber arts bag because she learned of her grandmother's talents with fiber arts while drawing with her. I have opened up the bag-borrowing to third, fourth, and fifth grades along with combination classes of first-, second-, and third-graders. The bags continue to remain in good shape and the only thing I have to replenish is paper. Students are so appreciative for the opportunity to borrow the bags and are still giddy as they walk out of the classroom. This is a decision, like TAB, that I will never regret. Tiffany Erie is an art teacher at Franklin Elementary/Montessori School in Frank- lin, Minnesota. diet0143 @ umn.edu With their Art on the Fly bags checked out, students are excited to try new tools and materials. 16 APRIL 2019 SchoolArts

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