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You might try small group discussions. Having teams that
interchange, share, and discuss are good ways of getting many involved in
this process. The entire class period can be spent with every child
talking and sharing their art without having the entire class listen one by
one to each work. After about 10 minutes you would lose many of the
students' interests. Students who may not share in front of a large group
would feel more at ease speaking with a smaller group. A group form could
be created with group evaluations. This would take one class period to
introduce and discuss how the evaluative process would work including a
demonstration. Email for more ideas about this form if you choose to
pursue this idea and need help with areas of focus. Another possibility is
to have the student create a written evaluation of their work of art.
Going around to each student having them talk to you privately about their
work is extremely time consuming and may prove to be more of a burden that
a benefit. But, hopefully, throughout the process of the project, you have
been talking and making informal evaluations including questions like:
how are you doing? How did you solve ( a problem)? This
is a strong part of your work, what decisions did you make? What
connection did you make with the examples shown? etc.
Having the student talk about their work briefly during the process gives
the teacher insight into their work as well as propel the student forward
towards a better project and a deeper understanding of themselves. I have
in the previous years, had students speak with me privately on a rotation.
I had a chart on the wall. At the end of each project, a certain table
would share their works privately with me for a formal evaluation. I did
not like this because it seemed to exclude others in the process. This is
a tough call however.
Beyond that, evaluation and discussion of artworks is a vital and
integral part of art education. Remember not all students will become
artists. There may be future art crtics, museum or art educators,
benefactors, board members, etc. The need to express viewpoints concerning
artworks becomes a necessary component. Persuasive and arrative writing
and oration can and should be developed in all areas of the curriculum not
just language arts or speech classes. At the elementary art level this
process may be a introductory phase but the conversation of art MUST begin
somewhere. Why not elementary art?
I am an elementary art specialist as well. I have approximately
630 students I see in a four day time period for 50 minutes each. The upper
elementary students focus on 5-8 units of study a year. The lower
elementary students more. Each year we focus on different units. By the
time the students reach the end of the 6th grade, they will have studied in
depth several areas. The mobility rate is about 20%. So, for the most
part students who enter the 1st grade will be with me throughout their
Lauren H. Killam