Essentially an individual stands at the front of the class holding up their
artwork. Usually the first one to get to do it is also the first student to
be sitting quietly at a clean desk waiting for the others to be ready.
First the artist tells us briefly what they have chosen to do in the
artwork, then the artist gets to select a classmate (who is raising a quiet
hand) to contribute an observation about the artist's work. To keep things
moving there is only time for three observations per artwork. The
observations are always in PRAISE, QUESTION, PROPOSE order, because the
routine is part of what makes the process non-threatening. We usually get
only five to eight students done per class, and I have to be careful that
everyone eventually gets a chance.
The first observation is PRAISE. This contribution must be a positive
statement about the art work. For example, we sometimes hear, "I like the
neutral colors she has mixed for the sky." or "The self-portrait looks
just like him!" or even "That is my favorite color."
The second is a QUESTION. Here is where we hear questions such as, "Why is
the person's face green?" or sometimes "What is that black squiggley shape
in the corner?" After this one, the artist can answer the question or offer
some rational for the point raised.
The last is PROPOSE. This contribution must be a suggestion from a
classmate on how they feel the artist could make this artwork better or
future artworks better. The proposals might be, "I suggest you work on
making the perspective better," or "I wish next time you would include more
details." or last spring I even heard, "I suggest that next time you make
the background first, like Mr. Alexander said, so the people in your
picture aren't outlined with the white paper."
The students love the PRAISE, QUESTION, PROPOSE exercise because it's a
chance to show off a little and see what their classmates have been doing,
but it also gives the students an opportunity to expand their critical
thinking and verbalize their observations about art. It is the beginning of
art criticism. I use it in grades 1-8.
1-8 Art on the Cart
Lee H. Kellogg School
Falls Village, Connecticut 06031
"We are healthy only to the extent
that our ideas are humane."
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.