This is something I have traditionally done myself over the years. As I was thinking about how to end the school year, I started toying with the idea of having students who were earlier finishers to help with many of the tasks that help inventory and organize tools so that the next year begins smoothly.
Some of the important things students helped with involved labeling 3D stations with student numbers, refilling paint, emptying glue bottles, cleaning out student storage, and checking/sorting markers. It was such a good opportunity to teach students care of classroom materials, creating an inventory, as well as the process of how we go about making choices for ordering supplies for next year.
I cannot remember my classroom being cleaner or more organized at the end of the year and that means instead of focusing on that when we start in the fall, I can get right into the material and means of teaching my students.
Students in my class went to the Artsonia galleries of Nickels, Marshall, Brown, and Countryside and selected a piece of their choice that they would like to animate. Some picked family members and others picked randomly from the galleries.
Using Photoshop's tools and functions in the Motion workspace, students used the clone stamp, layers, and other tools to create the pieces below:
At first, it was the only test I gave to students and because of that, the results were really hard to track in terms of growth. Then, I did the pre and post test model, but I still felt that it was too difficult to gauge learning with only administering two tests during the term. That is when I decided to start giving smaller quizzes after Challenges and then use questions from those to formulate the exam. The questions range from art identification, material usage, and other art terminology and application.
I am not sure I quite have it right yet, but so far this has been the best way for me to track student understanding and retention of content in addition to using student work and artist statements to document student learning. It is also quite satisfying to both the students and myself when we review the difference in pre and post test scores and see students have made some kind of gain over the school year.
First thing I ask in the survey is why students signed up for Art. Here is a breakdown of responses:
In addition to this kind of data, students are able to give me feedback on what they thought the best part of class was, what could be changed to make it better, and any other final thoughts they had for me. This is probably my favorite part of the end of the term because it allows me to see the good in what we did, the things we can make better, and anything else that is on students' minds.
Here are some of reflections on what students liked the best this year:
Love of Learning
"Trying all the materials."
"I like this class because you learn a lot new stuff."
"Getting to learn something new every day."
"I enjoyed the trip to Fredrick Meijer Garden. That was really fun, I enjoyed that very much and learned more about my favorite artist Ai Wei Wei."
I also appreciate the response to "Anything else you think I should know" part of the survey. I have really nice students and many offered thanks for a great year.
My favorite thank-you's are the ones that reflect what I try and offer all of my students and I hope resonate the most once they leave my classroom:
"Thank you for teaching me so much about art this year and helping me advance in my skills and learn that everybody can be good at art."
"I wanted to thank you so much for everything you have taught me. I honestly feel like I have really improved as an artist. I really enjoyed this art class, and getting to experience and work with so many different materials, that I have not had the chance to work with before. I really hope to continue art in the future, and wanted to say thank you for pushing me to be the best artist that I can be."
"I enjoyed being in art so much. I loved how nice and kind you were and how you gave back feedback to people. I really enjoyed that we had a project challenge to do and I loved that we could come up with some exciting things. I really also enjoyed the field trip, and making art work for Artprize. Learning more about artists I didn't even know about was fun as well. I was so excited to finally figure out I was doing Art and once I did I was never so happy to go to school everyday and starting out my day with my favorite subject, Art. Thank you so much for being my art teacher I enjoyed every second of being your student at Byron Center West Middle School."
"Thank you so much for teaching me about art, and showing me that art is a lot more than people act like. I loved being able to be creative and create my own art this year!"
Although it was the best year ever (for so many reasons), I know I can use their feedback to improve and help 2017/18 to be even better!