Monday, February 11, 2013

Making Students Proud

When I speak to many of my students for the first time, they are nervous about taking an art class. They feel they're bad at drawing and that I am going to judge their work on standards set by other students who are "much better" than they are. One of my missions as an art teacher is to help my students become more confident in their work. When they feel confident, they work harder on their drawings which sometimes even translates to work in their other classes. As a student who struggled in the beginning of high school, I didn't really believe I could achieve good grades until one of my teachers showed me I could by helping me earn my first A. After that, I worked very hard to keep an average of A's and B's for the rest of high school and got into my first choice of colleges.
I see many of my students feeling as though they can't succeed and I am striving to find ways to help them feel confident in what they do so they can use this confidence in all aspects of their learning. A couple ways I have done this in my classroom are giving detailed feedback and posting their work for others to see.
When I give students feedback, I make sure it is detailed and includes both positive comments and ways for them to improve (growth-producing feedback!). Because I don't always have the opportunity to talk to every student about each project, my written feedback is where they get this information. 
Some examples of feedback: 
"-------, this is a great start. It looks like you used linear perspective correctly here to create a complex 3-dimensional house. However, your drawing is very sketch-like and looks unfinished. Please spend some more time on this drawing to complete it for an A. (Think about what you can add to the setting, darken up lines, straighten up lines)."
"------, your use of detail is fantastic in this drawing and your house looks 3-dimensional. However, it does not look like you used a vanishing point as your guide. Remember, the vanishing point is always on the horizon line. Please review my corrections and submit a quick sketch showing me you understand how to use a vanishing point in your drawing for an A." For this feedback I also gave the student visual feedback as well to help him improve (see below)

As an online teacher I don't have a bulletin board to display student work so instead I use digital tools. In the past I have used simple HTML pages to display images of student work but I have found a new, exciting tool this year. I use a website called Animoto to create videos of student artwork. As a teacher you can get a free education account if you are a teacher which gives you more video themes to pick from and does not limit the number of videos you can create. This tool makes viewing their artwork and classmates' work fun and engaging and I have had wonderful feedback so far from students and administrators.

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