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 Teacher-Led Instruction lesson to easily be morphed into a kinBegin 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 Continued from page 27. written on the outline of the human figure. Next, ask students to analyze the artwork. They will need to explain what elements, principles, and techniques were used to create the work, and how they were used. This information is written on the abdominal area of the figure. Have students interpret the artwork. At this stage, students should answer questions such as "Why?" and "What?" regarding the piece. Why did the artist create this and what was he or she trying to accomplish? The answers to these questions are written in the head of the figure. Finally, students judge the artwork. Ask them to develop an opinion about the work based on everything they have discussed, then answer such questions as, "Do you like the work of art? Is it good art? Why or why not?" Their answers are written on the chest area of the body. Future Developments After completing this assignment in small groups, I usually have students work individually, but continue to organize their thoughts and information in a smaller version of the human figure graphic organizer. This lesson is extremely adaptable to different settings and age levels and can be expanded upon in many ways. One fun twist is to go outside and use chalk to outline figures on the sidewalk. Or, write the critiques on paper painter's suits and masks, and have students wear them. I promise you that no one will ask to leave the class during that lesson! Travel SchoolArts! with www.crizmac.com/travel.cfm Advertiser Index Advertiser Academy of Art University AMACO Americans for the Arts Anderson Ranch Arts Center Bailey Blick Crayola CRIZMAC Crystal Productions Davis Art Images Davis Publications Debcor General Pencil Jacquard L&L Kilns Marie Walsh Sharpe Page 46 4 CIII 44 45 38 CIV CII 45 11 43 7 47 41 15 13 13 45 Advertiser Page NAEA Nasco Arts & Crafts Ringling College Rock Paint Royalwood SchoolArts Skutt University of the Arts 16 2 45 15 41 41 45 1 46 Teacher-Tested/New Products Leese Design 11 Twournal 11 Antenna Audio, Inc. 13 Ranger Ink 13 15 Speedball Crescent Artists 15 Katie Oakley taught this lesson at Wigwam Creek Middle School in Litchfield Park, Tempe, Arizona. schoolartsonline.com 41

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