Students have been diligently working to complete their Alexander Calder inspired mobiles. Anxious to see the classroom turn into a virtual color wheel these mobiles were painted in shades and tints of primary, secondary and intermediate colors. Along with the installation classes are publishing their individual work on Artsonia, the on-line student museum. It is an exciting time to be in the art room!
Every summer since I was very young I have experienced a bad case of poison ivy. I’ve used special soaps, unusual concoctions, and seek the advice or professional doctors and allergists. Chanting the old adage “Leaves of three, let them be.” while I work the garden is not unusual. Despite this evil little plant, I cannot seem to pull myself away from the beauty of a garden.
In a previous post Cultivating the Elements and Principles of Art (Part 1) I shared with you the bones of my garden and how I incorporate my art knowledge into its beauty. Using the elements of art to lay the ground work of what will become a thing of beauty.
The time and the labor put into this space is overwhelming but the end results help to make it worthwhile. Colors, shapes, lines, and texture call me here every summer. It is truly my living work of art.
In the age of standardized testing it is hard not to get caught up in the everyday shuffle of assessing the correct and incorrect answers. In art there is no right or wrong so sometimes assessment needs to take on the creative flavor of the class.
Here are a few easy assessments that are creative and fun:
· Write– have students write a mini saga or acrostic poem about their artwork
· Movie– have groups of students create a rap song about the lesson, record in iMovie for everyone to see
· Word association – at the end of class have everyone say one word that related to the lesson that day. If possible don’t let students repeat any words.
· Play a game – Bingo, Jeopardy, Pictionary, Who Wants to be a Millionaire are excellent ways to assess learning at the end of semester and/or year.
· Make a list – students make a list about the lesson using as many new vocabulary words that they can remember, time them and see how many they can write down in one minute
· Create a graphic organizer – Students will create a graphic organizer about their art work. Be creative by allowing students to work with crayons/markers/paint and 12 X 18 drawing paper.
How do you creatively assess your students learning?
I recently had a language arts/global studies teacher ask me if I would be interested in working together to make a book on the Rainforest. After three brainstorming sessions we came up with the idea of making an Alphabet Book.
Students randomly chose a letter of the alphabet. Lists of animals were compiled by both of us to given to the students to choose an appropriate animal. In Language Arts and Global Studies classes students used the computer lab as well as the library to research and print photos of their animals. They composed one page descriptions of their animal, giving details about their physique and where they lived within the rainforest.
Since we were in the process of studying the work of Eric Carle in Art, this lesson fit perfectly into our class. The students had just completed a lesson on color and were well versed in how primary colors are mixed to create secondary and intermediate colors. Contour Line drawings were done in their sketchbooks along with notes on the colors and details of the animals. Students had previously viewed the Eric Carle video, Eric Carle, Picture Writer, showing the artist in his studio creating his free style of painted papers. One art class was spent making these “pretty papers” with various brushes, sponges, and tools incorporating many of Eric Carle’s techniques.
When the students returned to art class the next day and the pretty papers were strewn across the floor. All of the students could see the various colors and textures and chose the ones that they wanted to use. Various papers were pieced together into a collage type rendering of their particular animal. The students worked hard to make the animal as realistic as possible and the results were indeed successful.
art·ist [ahr-tist] noun
1. a person who produces works in any of the arts that are primarily subject to aesthetic criteria.
2. a person who practices one of the fine arts, especially a painter or sculptor.
3. a person whose trade or profession requires a knowledge of design, drawing, painting, etc.: a commercial artist.
4. a person who works in one of the performing arts, as an actor, musician, or singer; a public performer: a mime artist; an artist of the dance.
5. a person whose work exhibits exceptional skill.
I have always had a difficult time admitting to anyone, especially myself, that I may be artist? Even though I have always enjoyed art and art making, I have never felt that my skill or craft has been perfected to be considered an artist.
As children we learn though creative play. We use building blocks, draw with crayons and make toys from pots, pans, and boxes. But, as we grow older we do not allow ourselves to explore play and playful opportunities worrying about what is right or wrong. We lose touch with our creativity and therefore stifle our imagination.
I have purposefully set aside time every week to “be” creative. I’ve given myself the opportunity to explore new avenues of art and art making. Artistic thought processes interrupt my sleep as I grow back into my creative skin. I am finally allowing myself to accept that I may be an artist.