Standard #6: Assessment. The teacher understands and uses multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to document learner progress, and to inform the teacher’s ongoing planning and instruction.
As a teacher, it is important to monitor student progress and learning by using several methods to assess learning outcomes. Relying on only one method to provide information will only reflect a part of your students’ achievement. It is just as important to teach your students how to identify what is quality work by engaging them in the assessment process. The following evidence displays how I involve my students in the assessment process by asking them to review their own progress and learning.
The following is a project outline I created for a high school level Advertising & Design course. The project asks for the students to design a logo and the outline explains the steps necessary for a successful design. By asking my students to follow these steps while we formatively assess along the way, I hope to teach my students that creating successful artwork is a process that requires thoughtful brainstorming, research, collaboration, trial and error, and a lot of reflecting and editing.
The formative assessments given along the way in this project are explained in detail in the ‘research’ and ‘thumbnails’ sections of the project outline. Below are a few examples of those assessments.
One of the most important assessments that we do is an in-process critique on student thumbnail sketches. For this process, I ask students to share their research and visual references to explain their thumbnail designs within their small table groups. Groups are instructed to analyze and share what is working within the thumbnail designs and what could be done to make them better. They are also instructed to give their opinion on which design is the strongest and provide an explanation as to why. From this collaborative experience, the student artists are then asked to weigh through the advice given to select or redesign the best sketch to be made into the finished project. We do another in-process critique a week before the project is due. That way, students are again hearing advice from their peers, as well as myself, as to how they can make their artwork even more successful. Example thumbnail sketches and finished project are shown below.
When a project is complete, students are asked to grade themselves using a summative project specific rubric. On the front of the rubric, students are asked to circle or write the number they believe they earned based on the given criteria. On the back, they are asked to complete a written response reflecting on their artwork and their art making process. I then use the student’s assessment and written responses when conducting my own assessment.
By using these frequent and multiple methods of assessment, students know exactly what they need to do in order to succeed. By using a mixture of written, verbal, and visual assessments I get a true measure of whether the student understands the objectives outlined in the given project.
Standard #7: Planning for Instruction. The teacher draws upon knowledge of content areas, cross- disciplinary skills, learners, the community, and pedagogy to plan instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals.
Artworks are greatly influenced by the political, economic, social, technological, and religious happenings of the society in which they were created. For my students to truly understand and appreciate art and the art-making process, it is important that I support this learning with cross-disciplinary skills and content knowledge, as well as through field and educational experts and experiences. Support for this standard, and how I select and create curriculum appropriate learning experiences in my classroom, will be shown through the following two examples.
Example 1: Art history plays an important role in my Drawing & Painting course. Here, students learn about the historical events that influenced art movements and the artworks of their time. We then use the ideas, techniques, and styles of the given art movement as inspiration for our own contemporary artwork. The following project was based on the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art movements. Students learned that the drastically rapid changes made on Western society by the Industrial Revolution had a lasting affect on the people of the time as they became obsessed with modernity. This change in the social climate influenced artists to capture glimpses, or fleeting moments in time, on canvas. It was the perfect reflection of their ever changing world. New discoveries in science in the fields of light and color greatly affected the way in which artists portrayed these moments.
My students were asked to research and select either Impressionist artist, Claude Monet, or Post-Impressionist artist, Vincent van Gogh, as inspiration for their project. I started them out on their research by giving them the following assignment on Schoology. I uploaded short videos onto their schoology webpage for them to view and to help aid them in their decision. The link to the videos can be found here- Claude Monet Biography, Monet Light Study-Rouen Cathedral, Van Gogh- In His Own Words.
After viewing the videos, students were directed to answer the following question on schoology.
Students responded to the videos and explained their inspiration for their choice of artist and subject matter. Their responses are shown below.
Students then partook in their own experiment of light and color through their artworks. I have included both the project outline as well as examples of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist projects below along with quotes by the artists that inspired them.
“Everything changes, even stone.” -Claude Monet
“Drawing is the root of everything, and the time spent on that is actually all profit.”—Vincent van Gogh
“Color in a picture is like enthusiasm in life.”—Vincent van Gogh
Example 2: A career day offered at my school put me in contact with a very helpful graphic design professor from Bryant & Stratton college. Upon meeting this professor, I knew that he would be a great resource to use in my Advertising & Design course. His enthusiasm for his subject was noticeably enjoyed by my students and I could not turn down his offer to collaborate on potential future classroom visits and field trips to the college.
We exchanged contact information and were emailing each other by the very next day. I told him what I had planned for their next project, a photo illustrated portrait. Thrilled with the project idea, he replied that he could enhance my student’s learning and Photoshop skills by coming in to do a demonstration in support of my lesson. The following is a copy of my project outline and an overview of the Photoshop skills and tools he taught to my students.
The Professor showed my students how to layer objects in Photoshop to create a similar style to the artist, Diane Fenster, that I showed them when I introduced the project. A link to Diane Fester’s website can be found here- Diane Fenster Website.
Below are the files he used to demonstrate these skills. This picture shows the final product.
These are the three layers he used to create the image above.
He created the finished image by using the blend if options, layer masking, and opacity levels, shown in the image below.
We then planned a hands-on workshop for my students to experience on a field trip to Bryant & Stratton college. We collaborated with another colleague of his and came up with the plan to use their portrait projects to create a layout for a book cover. Examples of the finished student book covers are shown below.
Through this experience, my students learned about graphic design careers, college readiness, layout designs and color schemes, as well as how to use Adobe InDesign and other technologies and techniques that were otherwise unavailable to them at the time.
Standard #8: Instructional Strategies. The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage learners to develop deep understanding of content areas and their connections, and to build skills to access and appropriately apply information.
The fact that the words ‘learn’ and ‘understand’ are sometimes treated as interchangeable indicates just how central the latter is to teaching. The extent to which students understand what they are learning is therefore usually a central measure of the success of teaching. Most subjects and topics require the learners to follow, grasp or make sense of content in a way that then allows them to work with, re-construct or apply learned information in some fashion. This understanding enables them to internalize what they are learning, to make it their own. Interaction is the key to this process.
The following is an example of how I use groups activities to promote understanding of new concepts. This lesson was created for my Advertising & Design course. The new learning taking place concerned how artists design symbols, specifically pictograms, to communicate a message to a wide audience both quickly and efficiently. The students were broken into small groups of three or four to complete the exercise. We critiqued the outcomes of each group as a class after the exercise was complete. Below is a copy of the lesson, the criteria of the group exercise, and an example of one group’s artwork. More symbol design exercises can be found here- Symbol Design Exercise.
The students demonstrated not only demonstrated their understanding of design pictograms through their group exercise, but also through their original Symbol of Change artwork. I designed the Symbol of Change project so that students could create a symbol for something they care deeply about. I asked the students to choose and research a world issue that is of great importance to them, and a client that is campaigning for change in their chosen area. The following symbols were designed by my advertising design students to advocate for change. The first student researched medical aid in Africa, while the second student researched breast cancer. A copy of the design brief template I created to guide students with their research can be found here- symbol of change design brief.
Through this activity and project, students used multiple forms of communication, oral, written, and digital, and visual, to express themselves, build relationships, and demonstrate their understanding of communication through symbol design.