Regarding my grading criteria of "Develops ideas thoughtfully" and
"applies effort to technique",
Our students in lower school are graded with a 4, 3, 2, 1 numbering
system, rather than ABCD. 1 actually means "not yet".
When I assess a project, I usually have 3 or 4 criteria that I am
looking for, regarding development, craftsmanship, whether they took any
risks in their work,
For example, I am currently doing a project with Laurel Burch patterned
cats...(do we ALL do this???) with 2nd grade. The basic tenets of this
lesson involve drawing two to 4 cats on a white 18x24 paper, using
Laurel Burche's "formula for faces", which means that they eyes turn
into the nose, turns into the mouth, all connected, but with zillions of
variations in shape, pattern, line, expression. They are to experiment
with this formula that revolves around her style. They are to fill in
the body with patterns, and they are to choose colors that make each cat
look separate from the others. (warm cats, cool cats, or monochromatic
cats where each cat is a different series of values of a color, all
different.) They are to use construction paper to cut an interesting
rug or ground design, it could be that they use fragmentation (cut one
piece into zigzags or curves, etc. and space them apart so the
backgroundcolor shows through, or it could be removing shapes from the
"rug" and letting other colors show through from behind, using the
negative shapes they cut out. In either case, their ground would
involve positive/negative shapes. They are to do a border by folding
and cutting strips into patterns. And they are to use the cutouts in
the background, on black paper. So on the bottom margin of a class list
for this project, I will write the following (which helps me
TREMENDOUSLY with comments later):
A. experimented with Variety in faces, using Laurel Burch's
method of drawing faces.
B. Developed patterns in body of cats.
C. Employed color contrast from cat to cat so that each one
looks different, stands out.
D Used positive negative shapes in
E. Followed good gluing techniques.
F. Filled space well, used overlapping on
at least one cat.
Next to each kid's name on the class list, I write A, B, C, D, E, F. I
know that they mean by looking at the bottom of the list. Then, each
kid gets a 4, 3, 2, 1 grade for each criteria. At the end of their
space, I write a final grade for the project, based on the sum of the
criteria. Applies effort to technique, and develops ideas thoughtfully.
When I write their comment later, I can look at a glance and see what
they did well and what they just didn't understand or pursue.
Since I put so much work on the website, I have photographs of so many
of their pieces. I write comments on each grade in a different quarter.
So, this time, it's fifth grade's turn. I can photograph their work and
not write a thing until I write comments. I have a table in microsoft
word that is one column, 20 rows. I copy and paste a photo of
everything the kid has done that quarter into the table next to their
name. When I get ready to write comments, all I have to do is look at
the photos of their work and the criteria that I'm assessing for, and I
can write really pertinent comments so easily. I can easily describe
progress in a given area, particulars about what they did in a work,
etc., all at a glance. I just did this for the first time last quarter
with my second graders and it was incredible. I've never written such
great comments for a group, and they were so easy to write this way.
Gosh I love digital photography!!!!!