>Thu, Nov 18, 1999, 3:00 AM
> If I ask for a project to be done in B/W, and the student gives
> me an outstanding piece with color, they don't make the grade...
This statement just reminded me of an extreme incident in the recent
past that infuriated me. I mean no reflection on the person who posted
Every once in a while someone tries to stir the pot in our district
and insist on requiring letter grades for Art for our K-5 students.
Fortunately it never lasts long. The art teachers are happy with the
method we have and the parents are happy with the information it
reports. We have provision to report separately on the understanding
of concept, the consistency of effort, and the demonstration of
responsibility. We have provision for reporting on the areas each
students excels or specific areas of difficulty.
During the marking period I present several concepts to be explored.
I also provide for several assignments that the student will set his
or her concept to be explored. If an artists starts working on one of
my assignments and gets carried into another exploration (the
mentioned B/W replaced by color) or sees a different direction to take
a project, I suggest that it be moved over to be evaluated in the
optional category and another attempt be made to satisfy the B/W
assignment. This way the artist will not feel that anything is wrong
or wasted. It is, after all, an assignment - good work is good work
and should be encouraged.
One of my former students who moved on to another school came to me in
tears of rage. She had started working on an assignment and had
worked for days. As she worked the piece developed a life of its own
and went in a different direction than had been prescribed by the
assignment. She lost track of the original directive. She was so
excited about the work. When she turned it in the teacher held it up
and pointed out each criteria of the assignment that had not been met,
gave her an f, and tossed it into the garbage.
What is the message here to the student and the class? I know this
student. She is a divergent thinker, a dedicated worker, and has a
passion for art. After this treatment she refused to make another
artwork. So what was gained.
Sometimes, when I confer with a student, I have to search for ways the
assignment has been met and guide the artist to make a second piece to
demonstrate the understanding of the concepts that were not attempted.
Grades get in the way of the direction I like to go. The objective is
to explore the concepts and produce quality product. Also allowance
needs to be made for taking risks and deciding that some work goes
into the waste basket.
Sorry for ranting but I have a raw nerve when it comes to this
subject. These are my thoughts at 1:00 am when I am too tired to fall
Sharon from NJ
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