Artful Thinking Approach
 Thinking Dispositions
 Artful Thinking Palette
 Thinking Routines
 Curriculum Connections
 Art Resources
 Study Groups
 Assessment
 Related Websites
 

Artful Thinking is a program that was developed by Harvard Project Zero in collaboration with the Traverse City, Michigan Area Public Schools (TCAPS). The program was one component of a larger TCAPS grant from the US Department of Education that aimed at developing a model approach for integrating art into regular classroom instruction. The purpose of the Artful Thinking Program is to help teachers regularly use works of visual art and music in their curriculum in ways that strengthen student thinking and learning.

The Artful Thinking program is designed to be used by the regular classroom teacher. While it originally targeted grades K-12, the Artful Thinking approach is also currently used in post-secondary education and in museums. The program focuses on experiencing and appreciating art, rather than making art. It has two broad goals: (1) To help teachers create rich connections between works of art and curricular topics; and (2) to help teachers use art as a force for developing students’ thinking dispositions.

The program takes the image of an artist’s palette as its central metaphor. Typically, a palette is made up of a relatively small number of basic colors which can be used and blended in a great variety of ways. The artful thinking palette is comprised of 6 thinking dispositions – 6 basic colors, or forms, of intellectual behavior – that have dual power: They are powerful ways of exploring works of art, and powerful ways of exploring subjects across the school curriculum.

The Artful Thinking palette comes alive through the use of “thinking routines.” Each thinking disposition has several thinking routines connected to it. Thinking routines are short, easy-to-learn mini-strategies that extend and deepen students’ thinking and become part of the fabric of everyday classroom life. They are used flexibly and repeatedly -- with art, and with a wide variety of topics in the curriculum, particularly in language arts and social studies.