Student Critics in Art 1B

Questions to Consider:

  • How can you use mentor text to help your students improve? (Remember ‘text’ can be articles, graphs, novels, pictures, artwork, formulas, charts…anything you can analyze!)
  • How can students critique as a method for self-reflection?   
  • How can all teachers support EL students as they receive the same rigorous instruction as their peers who speak English fluently?

Joe Brusca recently shared photos and a video of a morning in his classroom. Music played as students sank into their work, sketching still life drawings of basic shapes and forms.  I love moments like this when students are immersed in creativity.

Mentor text

I thought we could take another visit to his classroom to see how Joe uses model “text” (in this case “text” is artwork) and guided art critiques in order to help his students improve their craft.  Just as a football player watches tapes of previous games and critiques them with the goal of improving for the next game, artists can also learn from analyzing and critiquing the moves of other artists and their own work.  What I love best about Joe’s lesson is that the student becomes the critic and is, therefore, required to use Math Practice 6: Attend to Precision.  The students are asked to notice key details and the craft and structure in the work of others (yes, these are the same ideas presented in our reading standards!).  They also listen to critiques of their own work.  Throughout the process they reflect on ways to improve.  Using model or “mentor” text is the ideal way for students to grow and the best part is that this can be done in any content area (lucky you!). For example, English teachers use mentor text by asking students to analyze a professional piece of writing for author’s craft and then have them imitate the moves of the writer.  Or a science teacher may have students compare science writing to fiction writing and note the differences.  For a fun article on critiquing, read Roger Ebert’s Advice to Young Critics.

Shatter Values

For a snapshot of Joe Brusca’s use of mentor text and art critique, we can examine his shatter values projects. Joe offers this activity as a lesson on line and value (gray-scale shading) drawing. First, he provides the assignment and mentor text such as this one:

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Next, the students create their own art.  Once complete, these student projects are then displayed on bulletin boards in his classroom.

IMG_1105 (1)

During the critique day the students complete three art critique question forms.  They reserve any judgement about the artwork until they have completed the entire form and discussed with their peers.

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As they are walking around and evaluating the projects together, they consider criteria outlined in the rubric. This is the criteria they will use to self-assess.  A portion of the rubric is below:

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 9.28.30 PM

Joe has included Speaking and Listening 6  in this activity, and students are encouraged to use language appropriate to the task (words like “craftsmanship” and “value scales”). Continually referring to the rubric, they consider criteria such as contrast and balance. During the discussion they can be overheard honing in on even the smallest of details as they attend to precision. Joe’s goal is to help them develop motor and practical drawing skills through the analysis and critique of the artwork.

Language Objectives for ELs in Art

A language objective articulates the academic language functions and skills that ELs need to master to fully participate in a lesson and meet grade level content standards.

The EL 1 students in Joe’s class are in a language-rich environment and, therefore, gain language acquisition in the art class.  In an effort to help his EL 1 students with the unfamiliar language on the original critic form, Joe teaches key content-specific words like “value” and “composition,” plus any other words needed to help them with language acquisition. Joe makes sure to group ELs with other English-speaking students.  His EL students engage in the same activities as his English-speaking students. They write the critiques and self-reflections and discuss the artwork with their English-speaking peers in the class.   As Kristina Robinson writes, “If activities are structured to support student-to-student or group interaction, ELLs are required to use English to explain concepts and contribute to the work.”  The more exposure our EL population has to English, the more quickly we will see them acquiring language and improving in all domains.  You can click this link to learn more about supporting ELs in your classroom: 5 Things Teachers Can DO To Improve Learning for ELLs

Joe has integrated reading, writing, and listening and speaking all into one activity that will help his students self-reflect and grow as artists.  Additionally, he provides the same high-quality material to all his students and builds in support structures for his EL students.   Joe-Thank you for sharing your classroom and ideas with us!

So….

  • How can you use mentor text to help your students improve? (Remember text can be articles, graphs, novels, pictures, artwork, formulas, charts…anything you can analyze!)
  • How can students use critiques as a method for self-reflection?   
  • How can all teachers support EL students as they receive the same rigorous instruction as their peers who speak English fluently?

Need help supporting ELs in your classroom?  Want to learn more about mentor text? Please contact me any time!  You can also observe on “Mentor text Mondays” to see lessons in action in my own classroom.

~Sarah

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2 thoughts on “Student Critics in Art 1B

  1. Awesome work, Joe! You are an amazing teacher! I like how you transformed the lighting in your room and made it a part of the lesson. Incorporating speaking and listening standards can be tough, but you created a dialogic atmosphere in your room, and not a monologic one where you just lecture from a single location in the room. Further, students are hitting multiple areas within P.R.I.D.E. in terms of our ESLO’s. Very well put together, Sarah. Thanks for presenting Joe’s hard work and sharing this with us.

    ~Dom

    Like

  2. Thank you Sarah for your hard work and the time you put into theses blogs. I appreciate all you do here at Hart. And again thank you for present my lesson unit!

    Like

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