SanD wrote at length about assessment and rubrics yesterday. I'm
home early today because of snow and thinking the same. I'm
thinking, because of something that came up with a student this
morning. This student is struggling with a problem. I pose
questions for him constantly and he has yet to resolve his plan.
Today I gave him another BIG QUESTION and he said his solution
wouldn't "fit" the rubric--------- ah yeah you got it! What's
a rubic for? the teacher or the student? what's wrong with the
rubric? where is the place for deviation? do we need a new
rubric? ( my rubrics always include expression/technique/design/
effort/planning and research/impact and presentation/ and "other"
what did you do that doesn't fit the rubric?")
SanD explained at length that a rubric is a teacher-student
collaboration. The only way we will get any place in art education
is to keep them from guessing what a "pleasing " composition is.
And what a weak word pleasing is -- like it's nice. When you have
students play a part in the development of the criteria, then
hopefully they start to understand good,weak or just putting in
time. If they don't "get" expectations, then they guess at what is
expected. They so want to please us. I just want to be sure the
me pleasing pleases them too.
Rubrics are all over the place to steal and copy and amend. Nobody
has to start from scratch like I did when few else were doing
rubrics. I always thought the rubric was a way to give every
opportunity to succeed that wasn't just based on a teacher bias.
Can creative expression equal out poor composition? What do we value
and what do we nurture? My tugboat may take your ship down the river
-- but oops -- how you going to get around that iceberg??
I think it was my hero Marcel Duchamp who said something like ---
without an idea, we are just monkeys with paint brushes
On Feb 11, 2008, at 9:43 AM, <email@example.com>
> 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 decisions".
> Lastly, and to Marvin's point on creativity, I believe that "chance
> favors the prepared mind" (L. Pasteur).
> San D
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