In this choice-based classroom, students are introduced to concepts and materials but allowed the opportunity explore authentic self-directed artistic interests. Some students work collaboratively while others are independent. Some students enjoy repeating ideas and exploring them in depth, while other students learn by trying a little bit of everything. In this class, students are learning through their own experiences, by observing the experiences of their peers, and the support they receive from, me, their teacher. I guide them by asking questions about their intentions but try to stay away from statements that pass judgement on a student’s choices or work. These daily conversations are a formative assessment that allow for individualized reflections and meaningful feedback during class. We do a daily self-assessment grade that we call a “citizenship grade” at the end of each class. Students are asked to reflect on how they listened to directions, used materials and their class time, treated others, cleaned up in a timely manner and followed classroom routines and expectations. Students are usually very accurate in these self-assessments. At the end of each marking period, I also ask students to sit with me and reflect on their class time by dictating a narrative assessment for their report cards. Together we reflect on their accomplishments in art for the marking period. I ask them to often describe something they are proud of or perhaps something that was really challenging. Then I’ll ask them questions to push them to articulate what was valuable about that experience for them. Their answers are often surprising and serve as an authentic assessment of what the students really learned in art class.
This year we have three students enrolled in AP art. Having this small cohort of students in a single class together is really exciting. We plan on taking numerous field trips to galleries and museums. Next week, each student is going to share a lesson based on their individual strengths. Here they are at work:
It's so nice to be back! Kids bounce into the art room ready to act on their creative ideas. This fall, we've had a few "have to do" assignments across the grades.
Each year, high school students across the country enter their state's congressional art show. Then 50 pieces of high school art are selected for an exhibition in Washington D.C. This tradition was started by the former Vermont senator Jim Jeffords. This was the first year that I have entered Cabot High School students. Almost 200 artworks from 50+ Vermont high schools were on display. Our small school had high quality pieces that not only fit in but stood out among the rest of the artworks on display. Of those works, seven of them received special awards. Cabot's Evlyn Hislop was awarded a "Judges Choice" award. We travelled to Montpelier for the award show and the judge who selected her work commented on Evlyn's skill in creating a detailed pen and ink portrait and how her subtle use of color and text in her collaged background supported her content.
Last spring, exciting things happened for the art students across all grade levels. I have a few photos to share of some of our highlights: the 3rd & 4th graders created recycled sea creatures for their PBL Ocean project, documentation of the infectious play and experimenting of our 5th and 6th graders who made paper, masking tape sculptures, movies and more, and high school students who showed work at the congressional art show.
This week past week, a few students from various grades have completed video projects. Jacob Barnhart and Sam Herrick-Trombley created a parkour inspired video for their metamorphosis project. Can you spot the trick in their video? I had to watch it a few times before I figured it out. River Thibault created a stykz animation and edited in iMovie. He spent particular attention to the sound track and layered tracks. Most of Ms. Adelman's class joined in the fun one way or another when Riley Burak-Dunham and Ethan Searles filmed their short film "Snowball War."
AP students visiting the Fleming Museum at UVM last week. We also stopped by the Burlington City Arts gallery and checked out some contemporary Art. It was a nice break and helped inspired our upcoming projects. Earlier this fall, studio art 1 worked on a collaborative observational drawing of a large form.
Read this if you are curious about the benefits of offering choice to elementary students.