18 August 2019

TEACH-NOW . . . Module 5, Week 1, Activity 3: Data-based Modifications of Formative Assessments

Formative assessments are significant tools in any classroom, but they look quite different in the ART STUDIO. For me, formative assessments look like conversations between students, gallery walks, sketchbook journaling, one-on-one conversations between student and teacher, self-assessments, and ball tossing. It’s important for me that I find assessments that fit my teaching style, and it’s also essential that I not mess up the studio environment that has already been established by the students. 

I snagged the following paragraph from Wynita Harmonover at The Art of Education blog spot. I couldn’t have described my teaching and classroom culture better myself: 

“I personally teach from a Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) point of view. The TAB website describes the learning environment by stating, “TAB classrooms are highly structured environments. Students scaffold their own learning, sometimes going deeply into specific subjects or media. They work at their own pace, following their own lines of inquiry, and develop skills as they need them.””

Essentially, the my art classroom is student-centered, enthusiastic, and the kiddos act and work as studio artists. This fits in well with my COMMUNITY and COLLABORATIVE norms and procedures. And creates individual thinkers who act and work like a TEAM, which really contributes to the idea of FLOW.

I teach skills and techniques, vocabulary and history daily. But not in the form of tests or projects or through books. I teach vocabulary through modeling how to talk about artwork. I teach history when it’s relevant to something contemporary that we are looking at (I don’t want the students thinking that the only important artists are the dead ones). And I teach skills and techniques based on individual projects and what each student needs. Of course, all of these things vary based on the age of students I am working with. But for the most part, all of my students Nursery – Grade 8 are creating work in this vein.

I teach in an IB PYP school. So I collaborate with homeroom teachers, other specialists, and I follow the Unit of Inquiry when it’s authentic to what my students are inquiring about. I modify my teaching and assessments daily, almost to the minute, really. I honestly try and focus everything I do with my teaching on my conversations with the students and what they feel like doing on any particular day. It took a long while for me to figure this out . . . But when the students are the facilitators of their own learning, they challenge themselves to do things they never thought they could do. I’m just kind of there to guide them along and assess as I need to.  

As a bonus, below are some arts-based assessments that could work for a variety of classrooms. I really love the examples given with each assessment, especially the Beach Ball and 3-2-1. This list was created from a more comprehensive list by Sarah Dougherty, also from The Art of Education University.
1. Conga Line – a great way to share ideas with different partners; two lines of students face each other, one line moves with same question or a new one.

2. Inner/Outer Circle – same as Conga Line except with circles, better for limited spaces

3. Pair-Share – activates prior knowledge or shares learned concepts with partners, can be timed

4. Jigsaw/Experts in Residence – each group becomes an expert on a certain part of the lesson, then debriefs the whole group

5. 3-2-1– good closer: three points to remember, two things you liked, one question you still have.

6. Quick Write/Draw — Given a topic, students write and/or draw freely during a timed period (I DO THIS ONE A LOT!!)

7. Gallery Walk – stations with information, participants can write on post-its or directly on the poster with thoughts, comments, or questions

8. Think-Write-Share – Same as pair-share, but gives students more time to organize their thoughts

9. Beach Ball – Concepts are written on a beach ball. As a student catches it, they give a thought or clarify the concept closest to one of their thumbs

10. SOS — Students write a quick Statement, an Opinion based on the statement, and finally a Supporting piece of factual evidence.

11. Poll the Class — Use a simple show of hands, white boards, or even a clicker program, poll the class on foundational knowledge, opinions, or even where they are in their learning.

12. Grade Yourself — Have students give themselves an in-progress grade, then explain why their work is earning that grade. Give them explicit standards and relevant vocab to use in their explanation.


Arts Achieve Impacting Student Success. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.artsachieve.org/formative-assessment

Dougherty, S. (n.d.) 20 Quick Formative Assessments You Can Use TODAY. [Blogpost].Retrieved from https://theartofeducation.edu/2013/10/18/20-quick-formative-assessments-you-can-use-today/

Harmon, W. (n.d.) 6 Strategies for Fast and Formative Assessments. [Blogpost]. Retrieved from https://theartofeducation.edu/2019/01/18/6-strategies-for-fast-and-formative-assessments/

TAB Teaching for Artistic Behavior. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://teachingforartisticbehavior.org/what-is-tab.html

Visual Thinking Strategies. (n.d.). Retrieved 
       from https://vtshome.org/

Visual Thinking Strategies – The Three Simple Questions. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://emprobstvts.weebly.com/vts-the-three-simple-questions.html

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