Is teacher guided open-ended art an oxymoron?
Although, open-ended art does not have one correct way or product, we as teachers need to help children make connections between new experiences and what they already know. Art is a way to help children make these connections and to scaffold their learning.
As teachers we are continually reflecting on our daily intentional observations of children to decide:
How can I scaffold for next steps and promote their confidence as a learner and thinker?
While some art projects are completely open-ended in choice of material and topic- others can be more guided by the teacher. Children are invited to explore a material and/or topic at the art center. Having an objective does not necessarily mean that you have to give up all of the amazing benefits of process open-ended art.
For example, a teacher read the book Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly. After reading the story and examining the different parts of the monster, she invited the children to design their own big green monster at the art center in which she laid out paper in the colors of the monster. Or teachers can simply lay out provocations such as the teacher who laid out books and pictures of penquins and black, white and yellow paper and then observed as the children explored their own ideas about penquins.
What are your thoughts?