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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Coloring Eggs

The materials you will need:

  • Egg Coloring Pages by Expressive Monkey
  • Colored tissue paper
  • Water
  • Brush

Go over the egg coloring sheet with water.

Lay the tissue paper on the wet coloring page. You can cut or tear the tissue paper. Go over the tissue paper with more water.

Cover the entire egg with colored tissue paper.
Let it dry.

When it’s completely dry, take the tissue paper off.

Cut the egg out.

Download Expressive Monkey’s FREE Egg Coloring Pages.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Robot Art Lesson Ideas

Robots are such a great theme for an art lesson!  Students can let their imaginations go wild while thinking of all kinds of tasks that the robots can perform.  Robots also offer a chance to practice a few different lesson objectives, as the examples below will demonstrate.

Students used Robot Drawing Pages from Expressive Monkey as inspiration for these robot drawings.  In the finished examples below, you will see that students had a chance to practice some shading techniques with white chalk and graphite. 

I visited Alton Darby Elementary and their art teacher Mrs. Bowers recently.  Here are some examples of their 3D robots.  Students brought in boxes and containers from home.  Naturally, students used lots of problem solving to construct these adorable robots.  As you can see in the picture, students also included a label telling about what their robot can do along with the robot's name. 

Another project that was going on in the Alton Darby classroom is this awesome collaborative robot.  

If you want some drawing help with Rockets and Robots, take a look at Expressive Monkey's How to Draw Rockets and Robots.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Assessing the Thought Process

I read a blog post by Melissa Purtee that asserts that we should be assessing learning not just the work.  Or at least using a balanced approach that includes assessing both the learning and the work.  

In this article, according to the National Standards, under the category of "Creating" the behaviors we should be evaluating are:

generate ideas

solve problems

make decisions


communicate ideas

develop art-making skills

It's very hard for a teacher to evaluate a student on their thinking skills by just looking at a finished work of art.  Having students self-assess not only helps the teaching understand the student's learning process, it also helps the students to understand the art-making process and how important thinking skills are to the success of the finished product.

Having students write about why they chose that particular level helps students to be more thoughtful and honest when choosing a level. It also helps the teacher understand what the art is about and what the student learned while making the art. 

In the first self-assessment pictured above, students are asked to indicated their level of achievement by coloring in a smiley face that represents how well they "experimented with ideas in their sketchbook".  Then they are asked to explain why they choose that level.  Prior to having students self assess, the teacher could ask students to share why experimenting with ideas is important and what a successful amount of experiments would look like.  It might look different for each students.  To be at the "Love it" level, maybe the students needs to experiment more that they ever have before, or maybe that means coming up with more than one great idea.

The second half of the assessment asks students to assess how they did using original ideas, and then explain why they chose that level.  Students might tell how they came up with the idea, or how their idea was different from any examples used in the demonstration or presentation.

The middle assessment asks students to "Explain a problem you solved" and answer the question, "What does your art communicate?" Both answers will  be helpful to the teacher when trying to ascertain how much a student learned by doing the project. 

The last assessment asks students to indicate their level of achievement on "creating meaningful art" and "solving problems".  Writing about how their work is meaningful and about problem solving will help the teacher understand how much thought the student put into the work.

Here are some criteria that assesses thinking skills and are included in my Rubric Kit

While assessing thinking is helpful in many ways, it's also good to mix it up a bit and have a different mix of questions and criteria for each project throughout the year.  Building art skills is also important for a student's fine motor development and enjoyment.  Students can feel proud of their progress learning drawing skills and mastering the use of different media.

The criteria that assesses skills in the graphic above is included in my Rubric Kit.  You will also get the images without the words so that you can write your own specific criteria for a particular lesson. 

The art room is also an ideal place to practice good learning behavior.  Student behavior can impact not only a student's learning but the climate of the class and the ability for other students to learn and for the teacher to attend to the needs of the entire class. 

The images in the graphic above is included in my Rubric Kit so that you can occasionally add some criteria about behavior to your rubrics.   

The Rubric Kit also contains 8 different styles of rubric boxes for a variety of assessment tools.  Some rubrics just have boxes for choosing levels of achievement.  One style has a place for students to write goals.  Others have room for students to write about their work or write about why they chose a particular level of achievement.

Whether you want to use my Rubric Kit or create your own assessments, I hope you found this information useful and though provoking.  I welcome your comments and suggestions about the information and what resources you would find helpful. 

You might be interested in reading:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Assessments with Writing

Getting students to reflect and self-assess can be tricky.  Sometimes "less is more" ... when the assessment tool looks less intimidating, students are more likely to use it and give you good information.  

In the first sample, student rate themselves by coloring in the smiley faces using two different criteria.  In Expressive Monkey's Rubric Kit, you can edit this rubric to used your choice of criteria.  You could even get students' input about what criteria would be best to assess.  Once students have assessed themselves, they are asked to write a short explanation about what they thought they achieved that level of performance.

In the second example, students are asked to explain what they did best and what they still need to work on.  There is also a small name label at under the rubric.  You can edit the name of the project on the label and have students fill out their own name.

The third assessment is very similar to the previous one, however, the questions are editable.  There is a sample of this assessment in Ppt along with some suggestions for questions that would work.

Students will write learning goals in the last sample assessment.  Students will need to write the learning goals before beginning each step of the project.  After finishing each step of the project, they will assess how they did.

These sheets can be used to make each level of performance clear to students.

You can read some ideas about how to use these sheets in my post about Getting Students Involved in Assessment.

You might also be interested in reading:

Getting Students Involved in Assessment

You might say that I’m a little assessment obsessed! I’m so obsessed with assessments, that I made my master’s project about assessment. Wait, what … YOU LOVE ASSESSING! You might be saying to yourself. Well, no, in fact I don't like assessing. I’d much rather be making art projects. But that is why I made it my mission to figure out the best way to do this. If I’m going to spend a great deal of my time doing something, I want to know that I’m doing it the best way possible. 

 I’m also goal driven, and when teacher evaluation say things like having student’s input on assessments. I added that to the mix of things that I wanted to be able to do. 

 What I’ve set out to do it to make a non-threatening (to students) rubric that provides useful feedback to students and teachers while making it easy to construct and assess. I’ve made the design flexible to include student goals and the descriptors vague enough to allow for students input on what each performance level should look like. 

 I’ve tested these rubric out over the past few years and finally put together a Rubric Kit so that anyone can use a computer to design their own rubric. 

 I’ve found that students enjoy using these assessments so much more than when I spelled descriptors out in detail with text. I tried making the rubric box and images a little whimsical so that students smile a little when they are doing the assessment. 

 Smiley faces instead of written descriptors, isn’t that a little childish? That’s what you might think, but I found that my students (who were up to 5th grade) didn’t mind a bit. They enjoyed just coloring in the face to show how they did … which resulted in multi-colored-silly faces. 

 The additional advantage that the funny faces provided was that we could talk about what they thought each level should look like. In my Rubric Kit, I provide a sheet for each face expression that you can record their description on so that you can keep it on display. 

 Here are some ideas for getting students to contribute to the descriptors for each criteria on the rubric using the “Descriptors by Students” sheets in Expressive Monkey’s Rubric Kit

 • Have students generate ideas describing what each level would look like. (Only use the 3 levels from the rubric students are about to use.) As students are talking, write them out on each sheet. You can write complete sentences, or just the key words. 

 • Open the PNG file on the computer in Ppt and insert a sample of each level in the open space. To get a sample of each level, you will need to photograph student work (not from the class), or your own work that shows what each level might look like. Then ask students to tell why they think (or don’t think) you are showing them a good example of that level. You can do this during a Ppt for the lesson, or print them out and display them on the board. 

 • Laminate each sheet and write on them with a dry erase or other washable marker for each discussion. You could also have students do the writing for you. 

 • Put the 3 sheets on the board. Pass out work from another class (names hidden) and have students put them under the level they think they belong for a particular level of performance. Have student defend their choices.

You can read more about Assessments with Writing in Expressive Monkey's blog post.

You might also want to read about Assessing the Thought Process

Friday, October 16, 2015

A Peek Inside the Norwich Art Room

 I recently had a chance to meet with some Hilliard teachers to talk about my Op Art lessons.  While in the Norwich Art Room I could help but notice how wonderful all the signs that Jamie made were.  She's been teaching in this room for less than a year and has really created a wonderful space! 

Students can use the drawing spinner to get drawing ideas.  The magnet spinner is put on top of a metal pie tin.  The paper with ideas can be changed out for more ideas and other uses. (Such as critique questions.)  You can get some critique questions here.

Jamie is developing a choice-based classroom and this is the paint studio.

She gives students lots to think about with her hand-made posters.

The artistic process in the Norwich Art Room is:

Students attach an artist's statement to their work and turn it in to be graded in the 
Finishing Studio.

The cabinet have illustrated signs on them.  Yes, those are sponges hung up to dry!  
What a great saying:
Draw light until you've got it right!

Another wonderful idea is the Beautiful OOPS paper box!

That's Jamie checking her laminated schedule, which is attached to her name badge.  
What art teachers DO to keep organized ...
We can learn a lot from each other!! 

I hope you've enjoyed the peek into the Norwich Art Room.
You can catch up with them on Twitter as @norwichART

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Avatars: A Lesson about IDENTITY

I recently developed an Avatar Lesson. The inspiration for this lesson was trying to come up with a lesson that could turn into a collaborative project with each students work on a square.  I wanted students to show their identity in a visually interesting way.  The visual in my head reminded me of a friends list on Facebook, where each student was represented by a profile picture or avatar.  I looked online at avatars, and was inspired by the graphic cartoon-like avatars that some people create.

I particularly like the avatars where there were no facial features.  Each identity was described by the hair, clothes and accessories.  What if students did the same thing?  Each of those things is a choice we make based on our identity; what we prefer and what we want others to know about us.  Many of these choices come from our culture and the groups we belong to.  The lesson could get really interesting if students had to trace their choices to something in their culture.  This would be a fun extension!  
What I've come up with, however, is a lesson packet that will have students learn about the concept of "Identity" through a presentation.  There is a formative assessment where students will write a few things about their identity.  The teacher can assess that they understood the presentation and class discussion about identity.  The teacher can also assess that they have a few ideas for their avatar drawing. 

Next students will write a mission statement.  The mission statement can be about school or life. There is also a "work" mission statement writing sheet in case you or colleagues want to try this.  

They will write their name at the top of the page with BOLD letters.  I've included a guide to help them out with that.
Then they will draw their avatar using the Avatar Gal and Avatar Guy drawing sheets.  

If you like the idea of making the avatar on a square and displaying a grade level or school's avatar's together, you could use a square paper instead of the sheet I provided, or you could make the sheet included in the lesson the practice drawing and have the final drawing on a square paper that gets displayed with the others. 

You can take a look at the Avatar Lesson lesson here.