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[teacherartexchange] Assessment-long


Date: Mon Feb 11 2008 - 06:43:04 PST

I am home sick today and have plenty of time to sit and contemplate stuff
including assessment.

I do verbal rubrics with students. What that means is when I introduce an
idea or concept and wrap a project around the idea/concept we all agree on
the minimum requirements for the outcome. We list our rubrics on the board.
Notice I say "our". I involve the students with the boundaries or rubrics.
For example my first work with my beginning students is a piece I designed
to be able to tell what they already know from their K-8 experience, as we
have different sending schools. I don't know what they know, what they
intuititively know, what they remember, etc. So I tell them that this
project is for me to find out about them and their skills. I tell them "you
are to reproduce your shoe from observation using pencils, colored pencils,
construction paper, scissors and glue". I then ask them as a class what the
rubric is. They list what supplies they are supposed to use, and that the
shoe must be reproduced from observation. We all agree. I then say "did I
say what size it has to be?" no, "did I say that it has to be the same color
as your shoe?", no, and then they get the idea that the minimum is the
rubric, and that they can be as creative as they want. I tell them that this
is how I teach the course. I will have a specific concept that they will be
working on i.e. Line quality, and some boundaries set up, and that they can
work within and around those boundaries/rubric. We then critiqued their
shoes. I talked about use of color, use of foreground, midground,
background, use of placement of the shoe, use of texture, etc. and said
those were some of the concepts they would learn about in the class. In the
meantime I would note which students had drawing skills, which students were
experimental, which students placed their shoe smack in the middle of the
paper, etc.

The next assignment was LINE. They were challenged to "create a classroom of
16 students, each represented by a piece of notebook paper" We discussed
what a piece of notebook paper contained: blue parallel lines, one red line
and 3 dots (holes). They were to attached descriptors of their students and
design a piece of notebook paper to represent each of those students. So we
listed on the board what the rubric was; blue parallel lines, one red line
and 3 black dots, and that each student had to be different indicated by a
discriptor; i.e. Lazy, Happy, Lucky, etc. I then asked "did I say how you
had to line the students up in the classroom? no, "did I say how big each
piece of paper had to be?" no, "what else did I not say?", then they start
indicating what I didn't say.

I think rubrics are important. My philosophy is that "when my tugboat
impacts on your ship" I guide you a certain way to make new discoveries on
the river. What that means simply is this: as an art educator I am trying to
give students tools to make their visions stronger, their work have more
meaning, their ideas more accessible beyond "I wanted it that way, I'm
done". I tell students all the time that they should be making art at home
on their own separately from what I am teaching them in the classroom. So
that if they want to do something that is not appropriate in the classroom,
for example, they could certainly be doing that in their "own studio". If
they want to work on something that is not related to my assignments, they
certainly could do that in their own studio, but for our sakes, I will be
guiding them through the river. The Rubrics are guideposts along the river,
similar to 'gates' one would see in whitewater kayak competitions. When I
first started teaching I wrote all of my rubrics out and had students attach
them on the back of the work, so that when they came forward and said "I'm
done" we would flip over the work to see if they indeed were. If you teach
electives, as I do, you know there are a certain amount of students that are
there because they were "put in" and until you get them excited about all
the possibilities, they will try to do the minimum. I believe rubrics give
students a framework from which to work.

Lastly, one of my colleagues has a junior practicum student from a local
college. He showed us what he intended to do with one class. He was going to
have them do a contour line drawing of a face, then "have them put it
together to make a pleasing composition" and then have them work into the
work with tissue paper, colored pencils and bleach. I asked him how he would
define "a pleasing composition", and that without prior knowledge beginning
students would most likely just fit things together like a puzzle, and say
it was "pleasing". But after having gone through the elements and principles
of design, students could make aesthetic decisions and even justify their
compositions, and make a composition that was strong, and deliberate. I
ended with my famous line "the difference between a monkey and a paintbrush
and an artist with a paintbrush is that an artist can make aesthetic

Lastly, and to Marvin's point on creativity, I believe that "chance favors
the prepared mind" (L. Pasteur).

San D

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