Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Art Assessment

Art Assessment...  For years I have struggled with how to assess my student's artwork without hindering their imagination and willingness to explore their natural creativity as well as at the same time follow the parameters laid before me by the state and my school district.  Art is Self-Expression and I never (nor do I think I will ever) feel comfortable putting a "Grade" on it.  I spend years trying to build up my students self-esteem, working to get them to willingly try new techniques and media without worrying about "Is it good enough?" Then they advance to the upper elementary grades and suddenly they freak out because they are now getting letter grades for art!

For some of them they now start to think they are not going to be good enough to get a good grade in art.  The "I can't draw" – "I'm not good at art" etc...  Phrases start to slip back in!  I have been dealing with having to give letter grades to my 3rd - 5th grades for two years now.  Working it out, making a great rubric that I think is fair and covers all aspects of a project.  It is based on project objectives and art learning. 

Enter our new teacher evaluation system...  Part of my yearly evaluation is going to be based on assessment.  Since I am a subject area that is not state tested, I need to come up with concrete assessment strategies that show student growth.  I have been researching this subject for quite sometime now and collecting my findings on my Pinterest board as well as collecting articles and ideas in a folder.  During my searches I found  a lot of really great information and been inspiration by The Art of Ed.  Jessica has a number of great and insightful articles on the subject at her blog.

One of the best resources I have found through all my research is Jessica's e-book, The Complete Guide to Simple Art Assessments.  (you can find it under her Jan 12, 2012 post in the last link).  I purchased it towards the end of the school year and just recently sat down to read it cover to cover.  I STRONGLY recommend this book to all of you!  It is chock full of ideas and strategies that can be used from K to high school!  You can either use the strategies the way they are or adapt them to fit your needs.  I already have decided on some ideas that I'm going to be working with come the first day of school in September!  I'm going to be adapting how I manage the students art portfolios, create a self-assessment for the students to use after a project is completed, and re-vamp my own grading rubric.

I love the idea of exit slips and I am going to adapt them into an assessment that the students will fill out when they complete a project.  It will need to be handed in with their art work.  Now mind you none of this is concrete and I will be evaluating how different methods are working and adapt them from there.

Our Visual and Performing Arts curriculum was also revised last year.  The Art and Music teachers from our three sending districts got together for three Mind-Numbing days to re-write our district arts curriculum.  We are now working with Big Ideas, Essential Questions and Enduring Understandings.  We came up with four Big Ideas:

        1. Aesthetic Responses and critique Methodologies
        2. Creative Process
        3. History of the Arts and Culture
        4. Performance

Each Big idea has their own Essential Questions and Enduring Understandings.  As a result of this new curriculum, I am going to be posting and discussing with my students Essential Questions that pertain to the lesson we are working on.  I will leave them posted for the duration of the lesson so we can refer back to them during the project.

Have any of you read Jessica's book or blogs on Art Assessment?  Do you have any assessment strategies/methods that you find work well?  Are any of you in the same boat as me and have to now show assessment as part of your yearly observations?  Please Post a comment, I'm interested in what your thoughts are!

On a lighter note...  The tote bag I have been working on is starting to take shape!  I am playing with the idea of a tassel on the bottom.  The green bead on the bottom (forgot to take a close-up picture of it) is a fused glass bead that was made by one of my colleagues at school.  She creates beautiful beads that she turns into necklaces,earrings and bracelets. Her students gave them to me in the form of earrings back in February as a gift for being named our school's Teacher of the Year.   Alas, I broke one of the earrings so I saved the beads and I am incorporating them into my tote.  The other bead is going at the top as a button for a strap closure.  I still have the closure and the strap to make.

I also made this little guy last week.  He is hanging cheerfully from my fireplace mantle. Found the inspiration for him on Pinterest.  The link is on my Textiles and Fibers Board. (click on the word Pinterest in the last sentence to get there).  I love folk art and he has that feel to me!  Hope you all are enjoying your summer so far!  :)

1 comment:

  1. I feel you with the assessments. It can be scary but in a way it's justifying your job, at least, that's how it is at the high school level. I did a post a while back including an example rubric, which looks scary, but just covers the basics ( again it's high school, but feel free to take it and make it your own.

    Exit Tickets are awesome- also, a "do now"- an activity they do as soon as they get into the room which keeps the busy while you take attendance/get set up.