Saturday, September 30, 2017

Showing Growth- 8th Grade Observational Hand Drawings

For one of my growth measures this year I decided to focus on observational drawing with 8th graders. Observation is obviously an important skill in the art room and across the curriculum, and drawing from life is a skill that most students could improve upon.
I started by asking the students to draw one of their hands without any other instruction from me. I let them work as long as they wanted and for most that was maybe 15-20 minutes. I collected the "pre" drawings and then we moved on to some drawing exercises like continuous line drawing, blind contour drawing, and drawing with the non-dominant hand, that are supposed to help students practice slowing down, looking carefully, and translating what they see into what they draw.

Oooooh the whining! This particular group of students spends a lot of time saying "I can't do it" and "I'm not an artist". My response is always that "I'm not a mathematician but I can still do math!" It was pretty frustrating to battle that fixed mindset so at the beginning of the next class period we had a pep talk before any artwork was pulled out. About 2/3 of my class (16 boys and 3 girls total) is on the football team and that is one of the biggest priorities in their lives. I drew a lot of comparisons between art class and football practice and told them that art CAN BE LEARNED, it's not something you're just good at or not. I said that I'm not great at throwing a spiral, but if I practiced I could get better. Probably not as good as the starting quarterback, but I could improve MY skills and show growth. I reminded them that my goal for them is to approach art like they approach football- listen to the coach, take the advice, practice, and improve. After that their attitudes were significantly better!
I demonstrated drawing my hand, and shared some of my little "tricks" (that aren't really tricks) for drawing knuckles, creases, etc. and measuring proportions.  The students had a few days to draw their hand and apply what they'd learned. Since some got their contours drawn faster than others, we also reviewed graphite rendering. I was really pleased with their progress and I think the students were surprised to see the comparison from pre and post!
I really hate rubrics but since evaluators usually want quantitative data over qualitative, I scored the following categories with this scale:
"Below Standard- 1    Approaching Standard- 2    Meets Standard- 3    Exceeds Standard- 4".

Scale: The proportions are correct- the sizes of parts of the hand are correct when compared to other parts.

Observation: The hand is drawn accurately and attention was paid to details.

Craftsmanship: It is evident the student put care into the work to make it as good as it can be.

The document I will submit has an explanation of who and why, a copy of the rubric, a chart showing scores and percentage of growth, and because I'm visual, a graph and comparison photos.

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