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Art teachers were STEAM-ing before STEAM was cool!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Viewing and Writing About Art: A Language Arts Formative Assessment For All!

I'm so excited to share this neat writing/language arts activity I learned about at a recent conference! I really think it has TONS of great uses! 

I'd like to thank Robin Perringer, art teacher at Nashua High School, for sharing this with me. She uses this with her high school students as a formative assessment--she mentioned she uses this in her ceramics class, but says you can use this with any of your students at any age level or with work they've created themselves or work by someone else (famous or not).

NOTE: Do not tell your students they will be writing poetry! :-) My experience has been that a scant few will be excited, but many will either go pale with shock and start stressing right away or exclaim "no!" and refuse to create a "silly" (or whatever creative adjective they can think of) poem! ;-) Once they are done, the students are always so blown away by the awesome writing they've done.

Georgia O'Keefe, Cow's Skull with Calico Roses, 1931

Here's how it works:

1. Have your students look at a piece of artwork. This can be a piece they've finished (or think they've finished), someone else's work in the class, or a famous work of art.

2. Have your students create the following:

  • Line 1: A creative name for the piece
  • Line 2: An action phrase based on what you see
  • Line 3: A simile or metaphor that describes the place/location/character or object
  • Line 4: Another title, but simpler
And there you have it--an awesome "poem" and a sneaky way to check your student's understanding and get them thinking and talking about art!

Here's an example using an image by Georgia O'Keefe...

Smooth Porcelain Petals
Clutching, Hanging, Captured
Cold, like the dessert night.
Bone White.

I'm definitely putting this in my toolbox for future classes! ENJOY!

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