Friday, October 14, 2011

A visit from Lois

I had a wonderful visit from Lois, Matt and Kate last Friday and wanted to share some of my thoughts. When they arrived, my 4th grade students were in the middle of a Gallery Walk of their first Showcase Pieces for the quarter. After silently viewing all the artwork, they chose 2 pieces that they were drawn to and wrote a reflection (comment, compliment, question, connection) to the artist on a post-it note and stuck it on their art work. We then transitioned into open studio time. Lois was interested in how I was incorporating the Studio Habits into my art studio. She was able to give me some great feedback looking at my classroom space and what I do through the lens of Studio Habits of Mind. What I found so enlightening was how many of them I was covering without even realizing it. Everything from how I organized and labeled my supplies (understand art world) to the artist statements (reflect). She walked through my space and shared with me what she was seeing.
Although I have the Studio Habits posted and they write about them on their artist statements, I realize how important it is for me to be more explicit with the students and make the connections for them. This will help them to internalize the vocabulary and see real-world applications of the SHOM. This inspired me to use my bulletin board space to highlight the SHOM with student work as examples of the Habits in practice. The audience is the students, the teachers and the parents. The photo shows this month's SHOM, Develop Craft. I am curious what ways you are making these habits visible in your environment.


  1. This is my first year fully implementing SHOM in my curriculum and Julie, I like your idea of having a board dedicated to the studio habits. I looked at what the Berwyn teachers developed and I am interested in creating a visual system that breaks the habits into easily approachable categories. Have you found a way to post all the habits in your room? I know my students already engage in many of them, though I would like to create a process for them to identify and utilize these habits in order to go deeper into the art making process.

  2. I love the bulletin board idea too Julie. It's very concrete exemplar for the students to make connections to the studio habits.

    I was thrilled to have Lois, Kate and Matt come to my classroom the other day too. I had a chance to share something I had created around the studio habits before they came into my classroom. Each student chooses a studio habit to focus on for the quarter. They explain why they have chosen this habit. I respond with questions or comments. Each class period they respond back to me. We are developing an ongoing conversation around their habit. This also becomes a record for them of their artistic process when it comes to writing about their work.
    This practice also helps me to know what each student really cares about and what they want to be taught about and assessed on. I've told them they may use more than one habit at a time but they are choosing one to really focus on. I have found that this helps with their reflection habits as well as their engage and persist habit because they are focused in on their habit each time they write in these dialogue sheets.
    The dialogue sheets are really very simple. There is a table with a column for the date and a column for their comments.
    I think I want to create word walls around the habits to help them expand their vocabulary in their writing.

    Lois gave me feedback on the idea that my personal responses are very important to students. She felt that these papers were a "treasure trove" of data for us.

  3. Jennifer,
    I created and laminated a large poster with the SHOM on them. I post it in a resource area of my room that has the E&Ps and artist statements. This year I had the students create a page for their artist notebook that has the SHOM listed, then they described it in their own words and created a visual symbol to trigger their memory. They now have this sheet as a resource when writing artist statements.

  4. Teachers from our previous project in Berwyn also created multiple variations of posters. There was one large poster which listed each Studio Habit and its translation to student friendly language along with a visual representation, much like the poster Julie describes. Some teachers kept a stack of 8 1/2"x 11" posters, one SH per poster. These were either displayed throughout the room, pulled out and showcased when the teachers wanted the students to focus on a particular SH, or deliberately left at work stations for students to shuffle through and determine which SH they were practicing. Another teacher laminated the SH Pie Chart and taped it to the center of each table cluster in her classroom. These teachers were experimenting with a variety of strategies to introduce and reinforce this new language/lens. We will share hard copy examples at our next professional development on Nov. 9th.