Kevan had an EXCELLENT response to the question
already. Here are the two posts to TAB list that got
me going on this topic.
Kathy Douglas (elementary) posted something from Diane
"Rubrics for Art Class at Burr School
From the 5th grade 2001-2002
These rubrics are generated while viewing student
artwork as examples of excellence, selected by the
teacher. Examples show a range of materials. Some
represent weeks of work, others are simple sketches
done in minutes.
WHAT DOES EXCELLENCE LOOK LIKE IN ART CLASS?
Artists get ideas for their artwork from their
personal experiences, resources (books, other artists'
work, etc.) and from art materials.
Artwork shows good effort and planning.
Artwork is complete. All areas and parts are carefully
thought out and the artist is satisfied that the
artwork is "done."
All 3-D artwork is built to last - no loose pieces
held on by tape, no clay attachments that are not
securely scored together.
Artist includes some of the elements of art such as
line, color, pattern, texture and shape and some
principles of art such as rhythm, contrast and
Artist shows respect for materials and tools by
cleaning up their workspace before moving to a new
center and at the end of class.
Artist shows respect for classmates' artwork by not
touching and by sharing positive comments.
Artists are always productive in class with their own
artwork, helping a classmate or teacher or researching
ideas for future artworks."
These are general and speak to an ambiance, an
atmosphere which will be moving away from that
"recess" feeling. Also, see John Crowe, on the
Knowledgeloom on artistic behavior: using only hands =
poor work, using hands and head = OK work, using
hands/ head/heart results in art. Few can come in
every single week and use all three; there is great
benefit to using the two to work out problems (how
many shades of green can I mix). But that goal is to
work for that behavior (hands, head and heart making
art). I tell the children that my long decades of
experience enables me to tell how many of the three
they are using. When I notice recess happening
(and it happens EVERYWHERE from time to time-- in
traditional classrooms also!) then I can intervene and
choose a workspace and project for the offending
student. If they are let in on this right from the
beginning of the year it will help.
A different interpretation on "Recess" from Patty
Knott (high school):
Expectations in art - that's a real tough one isn't
Many artist's have been crippled by expectations
What's wrong with recess?
Much of what I think is suspect with DBAE and
Standards IS the expectations and the pigeon holing
into some kind of preconception of an
I'm coming more and more to believe that art
expectations come only through PLAY with materials.
Give them the resources and through imaginative play
see where they take the materials and let them make
their own expectations.
We can not make them all artists.
But we can make them all ex spectators.
Given the opportunity to play, they will spectate -
not be spectators.
Art is about playmaking and speculating.
Make them see how the hand play is as important as the
mind play and notice every little connection and
choice. Ours is an awesome job because in art there is
no 1+1 =2. In fact 1+1 might =3 ...and recognizing the
mistakes, the play, the recess
might be just as valid and important as recognizing
I'm 52 years old and not sure when I will meet the
expectations, but I sure love recess.
I sometimes fear that in the last 20-30 years in art
ed we have been too concerned about fitting into
expectations and have forgotten what art
is all about ----- all the best artists were out to
recess, let's not forget that.
What is it that we do best in art to promote the
divergent thinking? Why do we fight the play? What's
wrong with play? but please, let's not evaluate
If anyone else has anything to add - I will share with
all lists....and will compile on IAD for those
"assessment" discussions that come up from time to
I will start the discussion to define excellence in
The quality or state of being outstanding.
I deliberately removed the "superior" part.