Coming from a background in elementary art, its hard to think about letting students plan and execute their own ideas. In elementary its all about step by step demonstration and always hovering and helping as many students as possible. Whether its helping a Kindergartner hold a paint brush correctly or showing a 5th grader how to blend oil pastels correctly, you are constantly involved in the process.
This being my third year teaching middle school art I've come to this place where I understand that a part of being an artist is being able to let students be creative on their own. Taking your hands off the process is hard, but in the midst of letting go beautiful art is created.
Some students I can trust to work independently, but others need some guidance. With that in mind at the beginning of the year we talk about Concept to Creation. This is what I call the process involved in creating their own piece of art.
This project was created by an Advanced Art student last year as a personal project. She was commenting on the idea that women's bodies don't belong to them, and that they are seen in certain ways by other people. It was very powerful. I feel because I was able to let her discover and explore a topic that was important to her, this students artwork became something more than what she expected and more than what I expected.
What opportunities do you give your students to explore their own concepts and creativity? A station? Or a personal project? Let me know below!