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Re: [teacherartexchange] Elementary Art Teachers

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From: Woody Duncan (woodyduncan_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Jul 08 2006 - 11:24:55 PDT


On Jul 8, 2006, at 11:37 AM, M Blue Horn wrote:

> What do you guys think about grades for 5th graders? For years our
> system
> did the "N" and "S" thing but we got rid of it as the consensus was
> generally that it was based on behavior, not their art
> knowledge/production/etc. I don't know about the rest of you, but
> my 5th
> graders are highly aware of the fact that they are not graded in
> music and
> art - and while the majority still love art - some of them simply
> shut down
> or don't give me what I know they have... So I've contacted our
> district
> curriculum coordinator, and she is willing to let me pilot the
> grading with
> my 5th graders, but she wants a write up on WHY this should happen
> and how
> it would benefit the kids and me/art. What are your thoughts?

I taught Middle School Art (6, 7 & 8th) and never liked grading
students. Half of my
students got A's and deserved them. I flunked about 20 %, mostly for
poor attendance.
I don't feel that I needed a grading system to motivate my students.
If they were not
motivated it was my fault and I worked to correct it. When I graded
it was mostly
based upon effort. We need to reward the student who tries really
hard to accomplish
something rather than just reward to student who came to class with
drawing skills
already. I believe there are lots of ways to motivate young people
other than grades,
words of praise, a hand on the shoulder, their art on display, etc.
Calling the principal
in to show off how well my students were doing was always a boost.
Grades may
be necessary (I was required to give them) but a daily conversation
with a young
person is so much more meaningful. I retired before my district
abandoned letter
grades. They now mark all students as to how close they are to
meeting district
standards and benchmarks. Perhaps that is important to insure
teachers are teaching
what they are suppose to teach, but I doubt it means much to
individual students.
                        Just My Opinion, Woody

Woody, Retired in Albuquerque
         mailto:woodyduncan@comcast.net

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