SchoolArts Magazine

FEB 2013

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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All Levels Critique-E-Man Katie Oakley I used to find myself running out of nurse's passes every time I tried to engage my middle-school students in a critiquing lesson. I could not keep their attention and they were not retaining the information. I wanted to develop a way to make critiquing more interactive and, hopefully, just as exciting as the other art projects in my class. Getting Attention For my new critique lesson, I sought to grab students' attention through novelty and personal significance—an important factor in helping students retain information—while encoding the information through visual imagery, elaboration, and repetition. My strategy was to come up with a way to connect four commonly used steps of critiquing—describe, analyze, interpret, and judge—to something in which everyone has some background knowledge. I decided to use parts of the human body. tique. I recommend starting with a The Human Figure reproduction of a masterpiece, then Since the term describe references the advancing to class projects or individsurface appearance of an artwork, it ual artworks for self-critiques. seems to correlate best with the outer Select one person per group to lie layer of the body: the skin. Analyze, down on the butcher paper and have which examines the "guts" of the his or her body artwork, could be represented by the I wanted to develop a way traced. It is important to explain to inside of the body. to make critiquing more students that they Interpretation interactive and, hopefully, are simply using leads one into the just as exciting as the other this human shape head of the creator art projects in my class. to organize their and is therefore thoughts, and that best suited as the they are writing about the provided head of the figure. Judge refers to the work of art, not about the outlined viewer's opinion or feelings about the body image. This can be confusing the work, which could be symbolized by first time. the heart. The anatomical connection to a critique would also allow for the lesson to easily be morphed into a kin- Teacher-Led Instruction Begin by having students describe esthetic learning instrument. their assigned artwork. Students should write about what the piece Conducting the Critique looks like, including information such Arrange students into small groups as size, shapes, colors, media, and and provide each with butcher paper imagery. The describe information is and markers or color pencils. Each group also needs an artwork to criContinued on page 41. schoolartsonline.com 27

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