Friday, February 7, 2014

Getting Students Talking

Lately, art teachers have been focusing on creating more opportunities for reading and writing in their classrooms to align to the Common Core. This semester, I have begun using the discussion board in my classroom to provide students more opportunities for writing, but also in hopes of creating more of a sense of community in my classroom.
Each week, students have a prompt to respond to that uses an issue of Scholastic Art Magazine. This magazine has fantastic digital resources I would recommend to anyone trying to expand their text resources in the art classroom. I have tried to keep these prompts fun and intriguing to encourage engagement.
For Week 1, I wanted insight into students previous experiences with drawing and art. I found an interview with Tim Burton where he discussed his experiences as a student throughout school. I asked students to respond to the following:
Read or listen to the interview by Tim Burton (an artist who has worked on The Nightmare before Christmas, Corpse Bride, Edward Scissorhands...etc.).
1. Why do you think some children stop enjoying drawing?
2. When has a teacher inspired you in school?
The results have been very impressive. 73 of my students responded to my prompt which is an extra credit assignment in my class. Below is a student example.
During the first week, students were responding to me only. I made sure I replied to each student to show I am reading their responses and to model communication with others in the discussion board.
During the second week, I asked students to reply to each other using the prompt:
Read the article "Is there Art in your Xbox?"
1. Do you believe video games are art? Why or why not?
2. Respond to a classmate's post
Below is a student example:
As you can see, student responses started out generic. I provided feedback to help students expand their thinking and make sure they address specifics when replying to a classmate. I am hoping to see growth in their responses throughout the semester. So far, I am happy to see students engaging in this type of assignment and with each other.

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