SchoolArts Magazine

February 2015

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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about their learning in a broader sense—more than just asking themselves if their drawings are "good." The goal was to get students to the point where they could ask themselves what their strengths and weaknesses are as artists. We considered what an ideal framework would capture. The Studio Habits of Mind came close to what we were looking for, but we needed something that was more specific to high school, so we developed the fol- lowing list, which we called Artistic Behaviors: Artists . . . • create original art. • develop art-making skills. • communicate through their work. • take risks. • collaborate. • solve problems. • reflect. • have a global awareness of art- making. We presented these behaviors to students and asked them to refer to three of the eight when creating their snapshots. What happened next blew us away. The Results The snapshot blog posts were incredibly insightful and per- sonal—like a window into students' worlds. One student, Hannah, wrote: I asked a few others in my class for their opinion, and the most valuable advice that I got was to do what I was most inspired by. I had been too focused on what I thought looked good and not on what I, as the artist, felt moved by. Notice that Hannah didn't label herself a student, but identified herself as an artist. M A N A G I N G T H E A R T R O O M Teaching Students to Think Like Artists complete a post even if they were only at the beginning of their projects. This would allow us to conveniently grade the art-making process. Thinking Like Artists As our department began talking about this new way to grade, we came to the conclusion that we needed to create a reflective assessment tool that would allow students to think W hen we hold class critiques, exhibit art, and even grade projects, the focus is usually placed on the product. However, before a product is presented, the stu- dent-artist goes through several steps in the art-making process. These steps are where learning truly takes place. This raises an important question: Why is there so much emphasis on the final product? What if we didn't assess the project, but rather the process? Our department at Apex High School recently decided to answer this question. We wanted students to complete self-assessments that covered a full range of artistic behavior instead of just focusing on a completed product. In essence, we wanted to teach our students to think like artists. Snapshot Blogging Asking students to speak and write about their work can be taxing. This is made even more challenging when the goal is for students to write about their entire art-making experience. We needed a tool to help stu- dents achieve this goal, so the idea of the "snapshot blog post" was con- ceived. We started by asking students to periodically complete blog posts about the process of their work. We called these posts "snapshots" because each is a glimpse of where each student cur - rently is in the creative process. Post- ing snapshots would occur frequently enough that students would need to Melissa Purtee and Ian Sands What if we didn't assess the project, but rather the process? 12 SchoolArts Continued on page 40.

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