“Art Works” is a monthly column that provides bits of know-how and reminders of ways to assure the success of your art program. In the coming year, look for advice and suggestions related to learning about, responding to and making art, integrating art into the curriculum, displaying student work, reaching out to the community, and more.–B.H. . when Students assess their Own Work H ow do we go about assisting students in assessing or criticizing their own artworks—both during the creative process and upon completion of the drawing, painting, print or sculpture? What is the teacher’s role in directing students in learning how to take a critical look at their own artworks? Most of us have found it easy to move around the art room, take a quick glance at a work in progress, and comment: “That’s nice, coming along, looks good, etc.” These generalized comments do nothing to assist the students in looking at their drawing, painting, collage, etc., and deciding what to do next, or how they can improve their compositions. In fact, they may have a negative impact because these words are generalized, non-specific and said repeatedly to a number of students. Comments must show the student that the teacher has taken time to look at the artwork and has given it careful consideration. Comments and questions that cover four important points can help a student understand what he/she has done that shows individual progress in four comprehensive and important areas. SELF-EVALUATION QUESTIONS Selections from the following self-evaluation questions focus on the art product itself. What makes my composition feel balanced—formally or informally? If balance is lacking, how could I improve the balance? Did I show variety and/or repetition with any of the shapes, colors, lines, patterns and so on? What is my center of interest? How did I make it a focal point? How could I make the ground, sky or background more interesting? How did I show any deep space (if it was an important part of the subject matter)? Are distant objects higher up and smaller? Are there additional details I could include to tell what I had in mind? Are the figures or other important shapes large enough for my idea? Would a different size or shape of paper fit this composition better? How could I change my composition to better fill the spaces, perhaps allowing some lines or shapes to extend off the paper? Could I make my negative spaces more interesting? Do the colors I used give the picture the feeling or idea I had in mind? Would I use the same colors the next time? How did I show contrast—texture, color, value, line, shape? Would exaggeration or distortion have helped to create a stronger emotion? Did I find a new way to arrange my composition, or handle the art material? by Barbara Herberholz • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • on are organized in a pleasing manner, the work gives us a feeling of balance, unity and harmony. This may have happened as a result of intuitive, unconscious thinking, but a thoughtful and specific comment can bring the student’s attention to what he/she has achieved, so that he/she may utilize these skills in future art production. The extent to which the student has shown emotions and feelings in his artwork. 3 The expressive qualities of happiness, peacefulness, sadness, unrest, anger and more may be governed by color choices as well as the expressive use of lines and shapes, and the choice of subject matter. 4 The degree of creative imagination the student has shown. 1 The degree of technical observed in the artwork. skill Has the student demonstrated an increasing skill in handling a brush and paint? Do cut-paper collages show excessive application of glue? (Very young children should not be expected to be highly developed in controlling materials, but when improvement along with evidence of a desire to develop more control is seen, positive comments may be made.) This occurs when a student has made an unusual connection, often referred to as metaphorical (relating two ordinarily unrelated ideas), when he/she depicts an original theme, works in a humorous or insightful way, or discovers a fresh new way to express an idea, solve a visual problem or use an ar t material. It is helpful to encourage students to “step back and take a critical look” at their own ar tworks while in progress and when finished. This dialogue may be accomplished after mounting the ar twork in a display area, or by simply holding it up several feet away from the student so the painting or drawing is viewed from a distance. n Barbara Herberholz is an ar t-education consultant in Sacramento, Calif., and an Ar ts & Activities Contributing Editor. She and her late husband, Donald Herberholz, Ed.D., wrote “Ar tworks for Elementary Teachers,” now in its Ninth Edition (McGraw Hill; 2002). The following questions relate to the process the student engaged in while producing the artwork. PRODUCTION QUESTIONS • • • • • • • • 2 The manner in which the student has organized the artwork. Here, we look at the arrangement of the elements and principles of design. When the colors, lines, shapes and so 16 Before I began work, did I take a careful look at the object (figure, flower, tree, etc.) I was going to draw? Did I think about the contours’ (edges) dark and light areas, shapes and colors? Did I think about where I would place the different parts on the paper before I started, playing around with my idea, maybe making a thumbnail sketch or two? Did I try out a new way of using this art material? Did I improve my skill in handling this medium? How long did I work at my artwork? Longer than usual? Would I like to repeat this activity? Why or why not? If I stopped to take a critical look at my drawing/painting while I was working, what did I discover? If I could do this project again, what would I do differently? Do I know an artist who used this same subject matter or this same medium? december 2009 x www.ar tsandactivities.com
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