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Lesson Plans


Crits

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Stubby4B
Sun, 14 Sep 1997 20:01:40 -0400 (EDT)

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This is how I ran my crit on Friday for my Art 2 kids (I teach high school).
I cleared all the tables out of the back of the room, and made a circle of
chairs. Everyone brought their homework to the back, and we sat down. I had
my timer with me, and what we did was, we passed our sketchbooks to the
right, and the recipient looked at your drawing for 45 seconds. Then I
quietly said "pass" and they passed again to the right. I told kids to look
at the drawings like they were handwriting analysts, trying to learn about
this person - what was the choice of subject matter? Were the lines dark or
light? Did the drawing fill the page, etc etc. We kept on looking, and
passing, in silence (wonderful silence!) until we had our own drawings back
in front of us. I asked them if the 45 seconds seemed long or short. They
pretty much agreed that sometimes it went fast, and sometimes it went slow.
I said that some of the drawings I had seen all there was to see in fifteen
seconds, while others I could have looked at for much longer than 45 seconds,
and for them to ask themselves about their own work - did it hold up to 45
seconds of scrutiny?

We then put our sketchbooks on the floor, in the middle of the circle, not
particularly near the artist who's sketchbook it was. I told the kids that
everyone in this circle has a very good and intimate idea about all the work
now in front of us. I told them that I did not know who's work was who's,
and that, for now, it wasn't important. I wanted us to look at the work
critically and objectively, and forget about the artist for the moment.

Then I passed out erasers (next time I'll probably use pennies) and I asked a
series of questions like "What drawing reflects the most work?", or "what
drawing reflects a sense of whimsy", etc. We then put our erasers on the
drawing we felt answered the question best. Lastly I asked them which was
their favorite drawing. It was extremely interesting to see where the
erasers fell, to see a visual showing of the kids' opinions. And, yes, some
drawings had no erasers on them during the entire crit, but hopefully it sent
a message to those kids that five minutes worth of work does not stand up in
a crit.

I'd like to come up with some more questions. Something along the lines of
"pick a drawing you could make a suggestion about to that artist". Or get
them to say one positive and one constructive negative thing about a piece
they choose. Something.

The looking at the work for the allotted time was a great start to the crit.
I think it kept a lot of knee-jerk comments at bay. Kids seemed to like it.
I'm sure I'll try it again.

Duffy Franco
Norwalk High School
Norwalk, CT
stubby4B


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