The first choice assignment given to my Kindergarten students last fall was drawing. They'd already completed one teacher directed assignment covering many skills and I was ready to see what they would do on their own. Each student had a piece 9x12 inch drawing paper and the choice of basic drawing supplies. Most stuck with crayons or marker to add color to their pencil drawings. I asked them to draw something they wanted, just to make sure they were doing their best. We had talked about filling the space and coloring neatly during the mini lesson at the beginning of class and had already symbolically gotten our scribbles out on the first day of art class.
When students thought they were finished with their drawings, they checked them with me. This way I could encourage them to keep working on it if needed or have them tell me about their artwork if it was really complete. If there was a good unoccupied space on the artwork, I asked the students if they wanted me to write their description on the front. (In first grade, I usually have students write a sentence on the back of their completed work serving as an artist statement).
We're currently working on writing the art curriculum in my district based off of the Core Arts Standards. Here are some "I Can" statements that I think apply to many of these drawings.
- I can explore and play with different art materials.
- I can use my imagination while playing with art materials.
- I can explain how I make my art.
- I can tell what art is about.
- I can describe details in artwork.
- I can create art that tells a story about me.
I got SO much information from these open ended drawings. I got to know my new students. I found out about interests and ability levels. I saw which students were naturally inclined to be very detailed and which are more expressive. I saw how they think and organize things. I saw who was confident, who was timid, and who needed some extra encouragement. Valuable information.