The kids are here! The kids are here! The kids are suddenly EVERYWHERE!
I decided to break the "first day stuff" into two categories - we will call those categories "paperwork" and "classroom". Today was allotted to the distribution and related discussion of the class syllabus, the grading policy, the homework policy and information regarding our school's use of Artsonia. I created a power point to help me stay on topic and we moved through the information in the 30 minute period provided during an early dismissal day. Having the power point as my guide really helped me to move from topic to topic without getting distracted or traveling down the path of some unrelated tangent. When I see these students next, I will discuss the room and the storage of supplies and projects as well as procedures for entering and clean-up. I am going to make a power point for the discussion of the "classroom stuff" as well so that our next class meeting goes as smoothly and stays on track. Power points - though not new or exciting - may help me to keep myself on task during this school year.
During the afternoon - minus the kiddos - we were assigned the task of writing Student Grown Objectives, or Student Learning Objectives - different districts are calling them different things. Basically, these are quantitative assessments designed to demonstrate that students have learned something during the school year - that we as educators are able to teach something to the youth of today. I've spent a great many hours complaining about SGO/SLO because our curriculum is theme based. We are teaching to the big ideas that students gain from the study of art - how art expresses identity, how art impacts community, how art can create a narrative... A quantitative assessment implies (in my mind) a formalistic approach to art - the student's ability to regurgitate facts or vocabulary or specific skills.
Today, I figured out a way to ask a big question that should be able to show growth during the year. If approved, the art department will be asking, drum roll please: "what is art?" The answer to this question can be very small - art is a class I have during 8th period; art is painting and sculpture found in a museum - these are the types of answers we are expecting to get in the "pre-assessment". My hope is, and this is a big hope, that during the year I will be able to impress upon the students that art is more than a those small answers - that art is a visual language used by every culture, throughout time, to express values, ideas, and emotions; that art is a tool used by individuals to connect dissimilar individuals and groups; that art can be a visual interpretation of emotions that cross cultural, gender, age, religious, and national differences.
Did I mention I teach middle school? Wish me luck - I may need it!
Middle School Art Educator. Adjunct Art Education Professor. Non-Profit Arts Organization Board Member. Artist. Arts Advocate. Dog-Mom. CrossFit Enthusiast.
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