Oh, my! It was state testing week at my school. I was in charge of administering small group testing for 8 kiddos. Most of this group I have in my art classes. These are kids who usually thrive in my art room creating and making things with their hands…. but you could see that test taking is not their favorite. Each of them mentioned (at some point) something about standardized tests they did not like or it made them feel uncomfortable. I completely understand - I never liked tests either… I was a hands-on-project-kinda-girl, too! ...So while the mornings until about noon were consumed with test taking, I had my art classes in the afternoon. This week we alternated 5th and 6th grades every other day, so I didn't see all of my classes, but some. I know many of them (and myself) will be glad to get back to a regular schedule next week!
Still absorbing all that I learned from NAEA - I decided to try an assessment method (that I heard a few presenters discuss) with my afternoon classes . It is a Gallery Walk (...and that's what I'm calling it for our studio). The students and I are always informally discussing artworks being made throughout class and we have a rubric we use to assess our WOW! projects (which always has kids thinking about how to finish a project) - but I have been wanting to do more. I went back to my notes; researched a little more; and created a form and system I think we can use for the rest of the year and for next school year. Actually - it was GREAT!
I created a Gallery Walk form (see below) and demonstrated how to complete the form based on my own in-progress softie sculpture project. After I demonstrated, I had the students choose an artwork they either just completed OR a current in-progress projects. This was difficult for many as they tried to start making and finishing parts of their work. I reminded them that it was OK to not be finished. I referred back to my own unfinished soft sculpture work - which I did include in the gallery walk assessment. The kids loved the fact that they got to comment about my work. I loved it, too - a few comments really made me think about my plans!
After students got their artworks, they completed their gallery walk forms (this took about 2 minutes). They were to leave the artwork and the form on the table and then I explained we would all go around and make comments on the form… either an "I wonder…" or "I like…" statement (I included these statement starters around the gallery walk label). I demonstrated what each statement might look like. I wanted them to be specific and not to just say I like the color… but how or where the color is used.
...So then we all took a walk - reading the gallery walk forms (art labels, if you will) and making comments. I wanted everyone to have at least 3 comments - well, these kids weren't shy and were excited to comment and to share. Kids were sharing statements and also answers to "I wonder…" statements - Everything from explanations about artwork being abstract and plans for printmaking blocks to sculptures with found objects and drawings of creatures. Wow! Amazing! I am so excited that this went so well - and so many students had great comments and wanted to share. They do this all the time in small groups while they are working, but it was wonderful to watch a whole group "critique" happening on such positive terms! This only took about 15-20 minutes per class, so they had the rest of the time to take the feedback and work! Awesome!!!!
What do you do for informal and formal assessments in your art room? Please share!
Whew! I am wiped out from all the testing and the gallery walk excitement. I'm signing off for now and will be back with more soon!
Artfully… Nikki K.