Nikki Kalcevic — I am a middle school visual art teacher for grades 5 and 6. I run a choice-based classroom built from the philosophies of Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB). I introduce skills, concepts, materials, and themes, but I allow my students to create and solve their own visual problems – everything from sculptures, animations, drawings, paintings, mixed-media, etc.
What do you see as the biggest opportunity in your industry?
The biggest opportunity in the visual arts education industry – is to recognize that we do need create makers, thinkers, designers, creators, problem solvers, and critical thinkers – not just artists. Many of our students may never take another art course or become artists, but we want them to learn that the process of thinking through a problem is just as (if not more) important than the end product.
What impact will changes in your industry have on consumers? the world?
Again – thinking we need to help students through problem solving and the creation and ideation process is crucial. We want students to say “I can” instead of “I can’t”… and this is one of the things I felt had to change with my students and why I went to choice-based project creation. We as educators have the opportunity to shape the future of our society and country in this way!
What is your biggest goal right now?
My first goal is to promote problem solving and the process of making/creating projects with my students.
Second goal is implementing and adapting new ideas I’ve learned from other educators who are also promoting process oriented project solutions.
Third goal is to utilize more technology in my art room. We use 5 iPads and a student computer for research, animations, and digital art – but I’ve learned so much more about other apps for robotics, 3D printing, augmented reality, etc. My goal this summer and next year is to bring these and more student tech tools to our classroom!
What kind of support or types of people do you need to accelerate your success?
I am part of various Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) at my school with fellow art teachers AND online through Twitter (#TABchat #artsed #k12artchat) and Facebook. There are amazing teachers doing unbelievable things through the makers movement, choice-based art, and technology integration. They are go to people for support! I also am fortunate to have administrators and several who are willing to support new ideas when I am looking to implement something new with my students. It also helps to have the support from my family and friends!
What makes you or your work different from everybody else?
I am not sure that what my work is different from everybody else as their is a shift happening in art education and education in general to allow students to be makers, creators, and problem solvers through choice-based project learning. I feel I am part of a growing number of teachers who are allowing more problem solving and process oriented projects in their classrooms. I am different because I saw a need for choice-based projects due to changes in my students and our school schedule… so I researched philosophies of Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB), STEAM, Studio Habits of Mind, and implemented various parts of those philosophies in my room. I am still learning and growing through this research and by seeing other teachers’ work with their students.
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