Hi.  I am Jean Barnett.  I am a wife, a mother, an artist, and an art teacher.  I lucked out by getting to do what I love to do for a living…make and teach art.  It’s a stressful job and I can’t say that I love every moment, but it is worth it.

I teach at the high school level in Taylor, TX at Taylor High School.  I teach art 1, art 2: painting and drawing; beginning, intermediate, and advanced ceramics.  I’ve been there for almost a decade and have no plans of leaving anytime soon.  I love art.  I love to learn about art.  I love to make art.  And I love to help and teach others to create art and to help realize their creative potential.  I mean, I am pretty sure that I found my calling.  And, most of my students would probably agree. 😉

I am originally from Connecticut.  I moved to Texas many years ago and have no immediate plans to leave.  I have 2 fine art degrees.  One is in Theater.  The other is in Art Education from UT–Hook ‘Em!!

Teaching is not just a job to me.  Teaching is my life career.  It is my passion.  I could not imagine doing anything else.

Several years ago, I stumbled upon the Teaching For Artistic Behavior (TAB) philosophy.  It brings process and artistic thinking to the forefront.  No more would my students create artwork that I want them to make.  They now make artwork THEY want to make.  My young artists go through the entire artistic process, from idea conception thru planning and research, to creation, reflection, adjustments, revisions, back to reflection, and then sharing their work with the public.  Well, unless they “fail”, which is totally okay and encouraged…along with taking risks and getting messy.  I mean, how else do you learn?!

Anyway, once I switched to running my classroom as a TAB studio, I knew it was the right choice for my students.  I have watched them flourish and become better artists and thinkers.  Plus, I am much happier, and I think a better teacher (and person) because of it.  I encourage you to do some research on TAB and see for yourself if any or all of it can be introduced and used in your classroom.

14 responses »

  1. Hello Jean Barnett,
    i switched to TAB last year in the middle of the year. i was sold after finding my direction changing and reading Studio Thinking and some of the TAB books which resonated with my new style.
    Well, the admin at my school moved me into a full ceramics line and i notice you had some of the same wonderings i did, like “how do we do TAB with one media?” i was, and am, considering ‘highjacking’ the line and making it a full line of GENERAL ART in the years to come but havent made a decision.
    i found your site while looking for ceramic artists to show my students as a research project. You have been doing this for longer than i have, and i was wondering if i could ask you some questions in hopes of getting feedback. What do you think?
    so far this year i started my classes with this motto “play with clay all day”. They have been doing that without direction as i set them up to have digital portfolios on google drive. they have shared their portfolios with me and put them in my class folder so i have access even though they are the owners. They also do a weekly photo of what they are working on into a folder i call Studio Work with folders in it for the weeks. So far, so good. Now i plan to have my beginning classes go through a week of each technique (slab, coil, pinch, free form) and then go into themes. i read you did the same sort of thing and am excited to learn more about what you learned doing what you do.
    what parameters do you give your students?
    do you have a sample of a project you would give?
    i am curious about the blog and the new WordPress? idea?
    and assessment, no grades… what drives your assessment?
    i want to test some of your ideas on my students and come up with an accurate way to help kids think and live creatively.
    please, if you can, respond when possible.


  2. Hi there Mrs. B! I’m a Miss B! I LOVE what you are doing here and your words of “no grading” speak directly to me!!! I’m so excited I’m not the only one struggling with grades! I have always hated them! Assessment and knowing growth can’t have a number assigned to it! GRRRR!!!! Anyway, I read what you wrote about assessment and creating google forms— LOVE IT— yet I am interested in the Daily Snapshot…?? Can you tell me more about what that is and how it works in your classes? (kboiczyk@ewct.org)

  3. Hi, I’m a high school art teacher in san antonio tx. I want to start TAB in my classroom. Could I come check out your classroom sometime?

  4. Hi I am a very new teacher and hope to make sketchbooks with my students for the first time. Do you mind sharing some advice, resources and anything g you might suggest.

    • Hi Jenn. I use the coptic stitch method with my students– I learned thru Sea Lemon videos on youtube. I like the way that the sketchbook lies flat when open. I would advise making sure what ever method you decide to use, you have tried it out first, so you know what to expect. Then just don’t rush. If doing it with kids in person, some won’t be paying attention and put holes in the wrong places, things like that. They won’t be perfect but they will be theirs. Good luck.

  5. Hello Ms. B!

    You site is such a gem of a resource! I have been obsessed with TAB ever since I learned about it last year. I hope to implement it this year but feel a bit overwhelmed with all of the resources. My classroom is also being totally renovated and not even sure what to expect with I get into the studio. Do you have any good recommendations on where to start, especially if my kiddos and myself are totally new to TAB? Thank you!

    • Hi Katie!

      I am so glad that my site is helpful. One place that I would start would be the TAB website, http://www.teachingforartisticbehavior.org It has a ton of resources. I would also read books that are geared towards your level (elem or secondary). Once you have a good grasp on TAB and how to use the 3 sentence guiding principles to inform your curriculum, I think you will be ready. Please feel free to contact me at any time with questions. If you are part of facebook, there are some great groups there. There is also a new group that you can join called the mighty network (there is a link on the TAB website) and you can get all the help you need there as well. Remember that it will take time for you and your students to adjust, and it takes several years to really build your practice. I look forward to watching your journey.

  6. Hi Jean (Freer??)
    Sorry for the round about way of reaching out to you, it has been a long, long time. Have you heard about Paul C. ? Contact me if you haven’t.

  7. I’m looking for some professional development on TAB. I’m an elementary art teacher, and don’t know how to begin. I would like to implement TAB for my classroom next year, but can’t find any related PD anywhere near me. I’m in Northeast Texas. Do you do any teacher workshops or know anyone who does?

    • Hi Susie. This summer our TAB Lab is in Denton, which is our free PD. It’s in June. I’m not sure of the dates exactly. If you are on Facebook, we have a Texas TAB group page, and there you will be able to find more info about TAB Lab in Denton. Please let me know if you have other questions. 🙂

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