Monday, February 25, 2013

Assessment Season

Well, here in Tennessee it is Assessment Season. This is the time when March Madness refers to everyone scrambling and cramming for "the test". I am gearing up for 3rd quarter report cards and heading to NAEA next week to present some things on assessment (Assessment tools for the Elementary Art Classroom, Thursday at 2:00pm if you will be in Fort Worth) so I thought I would get warmed up here first.

One tool I like to use in my classroom is an Idea Book. This is the new cover for next year. I found it helpful to add the table designation to save time. That way when I'm passing them out I just need to look at the table instead of finding each child by name. I can also have them out on the table when they come in without have 25-30 seating charts memorized.
I teach 1st-4th using enduring themes whenever possible so I only use the idea books with these grade levels, not with Kindergarten. When I intro a unit, I usually start with questions. I type these up and print them out (usually 2 or 3 sets to a page so it is less copies). This saves time because the children are not copying from the board which uses valuable class time. This also diversifies the instruction because students can see the question in front of them, on the big screen as well as hear/read it. We do our practice sketches in this book too. They are super cheap to make. I use 5 sheets of 11x17 with one colored sheet for the cover. Fold it in half with two staples on the fold and you have a super cheap idea book, color coded by grade level with 10 pages, or 20 front and back! It's use creates a portfolio of thinking and shows how students grow both in process and over time. 

The idea book becomes the pre-test and the completed work is the post-test to show student growth.  Another way that I gauge student growth is by using student self-assessment or reflection. This comes in many forms but my favorite for its speed and simplicity is a checklist.
This is my son's paper rug. 
In this example I give students four "I" statements and they respond "yes", "sort of" or "no". This helps me to understand if the students recognize and can use the weaving vocabulary in written and verbal form. I observe the verbal in class while the rug is being created as well as listen to them while they fill out the student evaluation. This is a first grade example so I do read through the statements with them to be sure that lack of reading skills does not keep them from showing what they know. At the bottom I added a matching section for students to recall the process of weaving. This worked better than last year when I had them number the statements.

I also use fill-in-the-blank with first and second. This is another first grade example. I know it is harder to picture it with the younger ones. In this innovation unit, students designed a "robot" and stamped it with found objects. The robot had to be specifically designed for a planet or location in space. Students then created an outer-space landscape using markers and pastel and glued in the robot where it made the most sense on the picture plane. They love this one- they have a chance to tell the viewer what the robot was designed to do and what changes need to be made to the design, if any. The mission report is a quick way to allow students to reflect on what they have learned and created through art. 
I also use, the online student art gallery. It is amazing to see the growth and progress over the years. Of course we have no way of storing a self-portrait each year for five years and even if we could some of our schools are so transient that you could never keep track of them all. This way, Artsonia archives all the work for you. Here are two portraits by Maggie, one in Kindergarten and one in Third grade. It is amazing to see the growth there!

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Art is a work of Heart!

 First you should know that I love Jim Dine! His work is so fun and kid friendly. He uses everyday objects and recognizable shapes to create works of art. His pieces often have bright colors and repetition. Like I said, fun and kid friendly. We focused on his many works featuring hearts because my kindergarten student's have an art show opening this week at our local Regal Cinema. 

So, how did we do it? First we reviewed mixing tints and introduced warm and cool colors. Students painted tints of cool colors on dark blue paper and with the white added it really makes the tints pop! 

Then the students drew three hearts. We talked about scale and how one should be much larger than the other. Once they were draw we reviewed patterns (great early math skill!) and they created patterns using only warm colors. 

Finally, we talked about balance and focal point (using the largest heart and showing if they understand the size relationships). Students arranged the hearts to create visual       balance. They could overlap (which is introduced) or use position on the picture plane (move the hearts up and down).

The individual pieces are beautiful and unique but I always love to see the whole grade level up together, all 110 or so of them!

We will open our show Wednesday night, February 13th and fill the lobby with kindergarten artists and their families! Our reception provides movie popcorn donated by our host, Regal 16 in Green Hills, and lemonade donated by our parents. It is an amazing experience to see the students show off and explain what they have learned and created through art!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Show a little love this week!

I found this on Pintrest and just loved it!

It is called a Valentine Lei (parent but I have come up with a couple of applications for it.

Tomorrow we will make them with the 3-4 year olds in my Sunday School class as " prayer necklaces". I wrote something that we should remember to thank God for every day. Our life and all living things, family, friends, the love that Jesus taught us and our good health are the five I chose. I wrote life, love, family, friends and health and they will add drawings of other things that they are thankful for on the backs of the hearts using crayons.

I found some milkshake straws (they are huge) which makes getting the yarn through the straw much easier for younger children who are still developing that fine motor and hand/eye coordination. I suppose you could use rigatoni noodles as well if you couldn't find the milkshake straws. I didn't even know there was such a thing and they are so cool that I am going back to Big Lots tomorrow to buy them out!!

I also lone the idea of using other shapes besides hearts! I thought this would be a great shape lesson for Pre-k and k. I will have them cut 4 or more geometric shapes and then string them together. The little ones love art you can wear! I did this with my almost 4 year old at home. We went on a "shape hunt" to find things that were circle shaped ( paper towel roll) square/rectangle ( blocks) and so on. We traced the shapes on colored paper and cut them out. I punched the holes and she put the necklace together. She loves making patterns (shape-bead-shape-bead) which is a great early math skill too.