Our team defines success and progress based on student participation and reflection. In our second year, we plan to collect evidence in three different ways. First, after each art lesson, students answer reflection questions in their art journal. These questions help us define success, understanding of the topic, and how students evaluated their work. We will also be developing a teacher survey. This survey helps us to identify areas that we can improve, as well as help teachers gain more skills. This year we are excited to add personal interview. These interviews will be filmed. In these end-of-the-year interviews, students will be explaining what they have learned based on their portfolio.
We expected to see a change in how students talked about art and their ability. Last year, when I scored a random sampling of journals for each grade level, a majority of students talked about their art “being bad” or “not being good at art.” This year reflections are more positive. Students are also more willing to try new techniques this year, knowing that failure or mistakes is part of the process. During class art lessons, students are excited about what they have learned.
- This year and last, we have used the student reflections to measure learning. In the art lessons, we can easily see the learning taking place. We wanted to teach students how to write about their experience. At the end of the school year, teachers randomly pull reflection booklets for me to read, based on the average class size for that grade level. Reflections for each art lesson were read and scored on a 1-3 scale. If students answered the questions clearly they would earn a 3. Results for each grade level would be tallied and data would be converted into a graph for three categories: meaningful reflection, understanding of topic, and critical evaluation of work.
Student’s enthusiasm for the art lessons did not always reflect in their reflections. That is why we have added a personal interview this year. We believe that through a casual conversation, students will be able to show us what they have learned using new vocabulary they learned.
- We have seen student learning in many ways this year. As our school’s culture around art has changed we see more art incorporated into classroom projects and displayed around the school. These project look better than ever! Having our structured lessons have helped students with layout, spacing, and drawing/painting. Teachers have made positive comments that student project-based work has improved.
When looking at the data so far collected this year, we have reflected on more pieces of art (six last year and nine this year). Students are getting better at explaining their thinking and being positive about their progress. In the attached graphs for sixth grade, you will notice that we are moving more students to earning a three than last year. We also have more teachers being consistent in giving time to their students to complete this task. We are still struggling at the fourth and fifth grade levels in completing reflections thoroughly. I am not sure at the point how to remedy this, but am hopeful with more teacher training this will improve.
We have some exciting undocumented data happening as well. Students are going home and trying things and being more creative. Recently, our sixth grade classes received a 90 minute lesson on stop motion movies. My students easily obtained the apps they needed, and at home are making films, and sharing them in class. It is excited to see students excited about what they have learned.
- Tracking data is a lot of work! One thing that is quite evident is that we have a lot more teacher buy in this year, based on more reflections being completed. We still are struggling with getting every teacher to follow through with the reflection process. In many classes we see great improvements with discussions around art, while others struggle. Implementing professional development next year will help with this problem.
I am most pleased and surprised about the student’s attitude toward art being an on-going process. Even if a student was not thrilled with their work, they are now able to make suggestions for next time, or have an idea of how to get better. This is so important, and will carry over to other academic areas.
- Looking at our classroom data, we will be able to modify our teacher survey to prepare for next year. Teacher input was very valuable last year and we were able to make many changes to increase teacher buy in and involvement. With more teacher training, ideas for integration, and more staff discussions, and providing teacher manuals, we will help ensure the success of this program for years to come.
This post was written by:
Rebecca Peters, 6th grade teacher
Student Reflection Here is a sample copy of our monthly reflection questions.
Sixth Grade Graphs: