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RE: Questions about Art Ed (about rubics)


From: Hillmer, Jan (HillmJan_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri May 07 2004 - 07:59:12 PDT

Kathy, your thoughts are really wonderful, and for me, inspiring me to carefully evaluate what I do.
My question is, how do you take the unbridled energy and get the student to focus? You have to start somewhere - where do you start at the beginning of the year? I have elementary kids, and I am struggling to go with this paradigm shift you're offering to me. I understand the idea of us (teachers) being resource persons in the classroom, but you have to have some direction. Where do you go? Do you let the students form the curriculum? Right now, at my school, we are highly encouraged to do that thematic stuff - and I often use the predominant theme of study currently in the classroom, folded into techniques and art elements designated by the curriculum.. My guess is that probably if I just let them go, some would persue the theme, others, stuff they're interested in. How do you fold teaching of new or reviewing of old techniques? How, then, do you grade? I see below that you haven't answered that yourself, but if you're using the ideas below, do you have to submit grades? What do you evaluate?
Trying to learn more,

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Friday, May 07, 2004 7:47 AM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: Re: Questions about Art Ed (about rubics)

In a message dated 5/7/04 7:07:54 AM, writes:

Yes, let them know what a quality outcome looks like. But Please, don't
perscribe every step along
the way. We are teaching students how artists think. There is suppose to
be beauty and meaning at
the end of the road.

One of the standards that I set for myself as a teacher of art is, if I know in advance what I will see on students' papers, then I am exerting too much control. I make a distinction between a project, which might have a teaching usefulness, and art, which comes from the artist (in this case, the students in my classes) Peter London often says (much better than I do) that if a person has something important to "say" to a listener who cares about the "speaker", then the desire to say it well will take care of many issues of quality. One of my young students, a ball of fire, was always in a hurry with his work, and I had concerns about quality. He then began a self chosen attempt to build little cardboard sculptures of his new step father's favorite NASCAR racers. He was meticulous and particular about each piece and brought reference materials so that each color and logo would be rendered correctly. His investment in the idea (his idea) gave him the motivation to do a top notch job. I humbly offer that the idea is the core of art making and that we as teachers can assist in the execution of the ideas in many ways due to our backgrounds in media, processes and the work of artists before and now. But the idea, the meaning, comes from the artist. If we wish for our students to behave as artists we must offer them the opportunity to behave as artists. (and if not in _our_ classrooms, then where?) I once imagined a little time machine which would put Georgia O'Keefe, Henry Moore, Richard Diebenkorn, Claude Monet, David Hockney, Francis Bacon, Helen Frankenthaler in the same time frame, but all aged six. (you may insert your own master artists, the list does not matter...) And here they come, in a line, marching in to my classroom on the first day of art. What Lesson Plan do I write which will engage each of these very unique, potentially great children? How do help them to begin to express their completely unique point of view, right from the beginning? As artists we know that one is unlikely to make great art every time one steps in to the studio (and here I insert Woody's great quote: “The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork
is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction
of your artwork that soars.” from: “Art & Fear”
So my students often do choose to practice color mixing, page after page, practice embroidery stitches in preparation for making a finished piece, practice drawing the horse models I brought back from Denver and so on. And in these processes, few of which make it to the famous "refrigerator gallery", each student has the opportunity to create prosperous ways of art making that are unique from those of her classmates. And each student is continually invited to mine his personal life, and tastes and passions for the content of the images and structures to be made in class. And so, rubrics. Hm. Walk through MOMA: what rubrics will you put up to judge the works there? behavior rubrics? How much risk taking? How much persistence? How much advance preparation? How much meaning? How strange and new? How personal? How universal? I do not have many answers, but I am awash with questions. Thanks for reading.
kathy douglas

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