I have been working with my fifth grade students to create choice-based art projects. Here are some strategies that have helped me to develop this student-driven lesson plan.
- Student Surveys: This has been so helpful to learn about my students’ preferences regarding artistic media and personal interests.
- Collaboration: Students had the option to work collaboratively or independently.
- Research: Everyone had to research their chosen topic to explore artistically, and take notes in their sketchbooks.
- Concept Maps & Charts: Using concept maps helps students to brainstorm their ideas and make connections to a topic (Marshall, 2016). KWL charts allow students the opportunity to list what they know, what they want to know, and what they have learned during this process of investigation.
- Playing with Materials: Giving students time to play with their material of choice provides them with a foundation of how to use it, as well as the challenges that may arise.
- Hetland’s 8 Habits of Mind: I thought it was important to tap into the 8 Habits of Mind, especially how to “Envision”, “Stretch and Explore”, “Engage and Persist”, and “Reflect” (Hetland et al, 2007). It was helpful to communicate to students that they must envision how to visually represent something about their topic, stretch and explore the medium, engage and persist with their chosen topic, and reflect on what is working and what isn’t working.