Classroom Structures- Observation 1
1. Focus you attention on the physical arrangements of the classroom. Draw a map of the room showing the following: Where are the students sitting? How much workspace do they have? Where is the teacher’s desk? Are there any display areas for student work? Where are the materials stored? Is there a sink in the classroom? What equipment exists in the room? What conclusions can you draw regarding the impact of the physical structure of a classroom on the teacher’s behavior and student’s behavior?
Period 1 Portfolio Mrs. Holly 8:45- 10:15
Today I walked in and Mrs. Holly got the classes attention by saying, “excuse me” multiple times, introduced me and then allowed me to introduce myself a little.
Portfolio class is a senior class and from what I have observed is a class built around giving students minimal guidance and critique with ample time to create art pieces to ideally put into a portfolio for applying to colleges. The students come in and sit wherever they want. The tables are just wide enough for an 18x24 inch newsprint pad or sheet of paper. Some students choose to sit across from each other giving them less room to work and would be more appropriately placed at a diagonal by the teacher if she doesn’t want a seating chart. The classroom structure seems unorganized. I imagine part of this lack of structure is because they are seniors and are working on their own projects, but it also appears to me that Mrs. Holly seems to be unorganized. (This observed behavior is inconsistent with FEAP 2 – maintaining an adequate learning environment)
Approximately 15 minutes or so into the class Mrs. Holly shows me a book called “Design Synectics” by Nicholas Roukes. She decides she wants the students to have a copy and runs to the office to make copies. She asks me to help students with their resumes. This is an assignment they should have completed and had printed to turn in to her today. Three of the seventeen students have a printed one to turn in. One student has it on her open laptop. I review all of them during Mrs. Holly’s absence.
Mrs. Holly comes back and passes out the copies she has made for the students. Some of the students are texting with book bags on the tables, others are talking, and others are working on drawing or watercolors. Mrs. Holly fidgets with an overhead type projector for about 10 minutes then starts to read aloud from the copy in her hand because she can’t make the technology work. Much of this time students are either not paying attention or are working on art rather than following along with the reading. I feel that this is mainly because of the unstructured seating arrangement and poor organization. After the reading was finished she asked for someone to summarize the reading and held a conversation about it. Thus she did reinforce the information and made sure the points were comprehended whether students were reading or paying attention during the reading or not. I’m glad she ensured that students understood the concepts, but the entire approach needed to be revised as the process almost encouraged students to not pay attention because they seemed to know that she would tell them the information in the end. (This observed behavior is inconsistent with FEAP’s 2 and 3 as the teacher did not manage time well, and although the teacher tried to incorporate technology, the technology didn’t work and students did not appear to be engaged in the learning process)
The teacher does possess strengths. She was fantastic at encouraging students who seemed to doubt themselves when answering questions or working on something. She did an excellent job of building their self-esteems. Finally, she was also very real and honest with the students as she told them she has been sick and couldn’t talk very loud. There were no fake comments. She admitted her weakness was organization
Period 2 AP Drawing Mrs. Holly 10:30 - noon
This class was mostly seniors with a few juniors. This class began in much the same way as the previous class as students come in and sit where they want with a few students starting to work immediately, while others never take their backpack off and walk around the classroom. The classroom structure seems unorganized and Mrs. Holly admitted to me that this was a weakness of hers. I see students getting appropriate materials and starting to work while others sit and talk or listen to music and text on their phones.
Approximately twenty minutes into the class period Mrs. Holly asked the students to hand in the five pieces they were to have completed over the summer. Only a few of them began to pass them up and she randomly decided to hold a critique against the student’s vocal preferences. Critique was held at the back of the classroom in the corner. Students sat on stools or chairs behind a small loveseat, which the teacher and I sat on. I feel this would have been better structured if the teacher were behind the students or beside them as some students were not paying attention throughout the critique and her way of stopping inappropriate behavior was to snap her finger above her head. Many of the students did not have this assignment completed either, and none of the students had the assignment completed to her specifications. She did most of the talking in the critiques, other than the student presenting. I feel more student contributions could have been made if she had encouraged more of it and would have stationed herself in a location where she could not only see the art but also the students. Students could look over her shoulder at her grading sheet so privacy of students grades was not very well achieved, but students obviously could see how many pieces each student had completed in the critique process so perhaps the number was a given and therefore not a big ordeal in Mrs. Holly’s mind. (FEAP 4 Assessment – Critique good concept but didn’t get enough student involvement)
Period 3 6th Grade Wheel Mrs. Holly 1:05-2:05
This class is held in the cafeteria as there is another art class being taught in the actual art classroom. Sixth graders are also considered not mature enough to handle art yet and therefore it is viewed as a privilege for these 6th graders to even have art. Based on the name I originally thought this was a ceramic wheel based class but it turns out it is a class geared toward learning basic art skills and techniques.
Mrs. Holly teaches the class in the cafeteria from a cart. The students have just had lunch and so are already seated at the cafeteria tables. These tables are two very long thin tables joined together by a small gap and hinge. There are close to 30 6th graders in this class so they sit on both sides of the two cafeteria tables. The students begin taking out images of themselves that Mrs. Holly took in the previous class. The images were of different perspectives of each student, printed on regular printer paper. The students were to arrange the images in a collage type format using David Hockney for inspiration. Mrs. Holly asked the students to move into groups previously determined. This was unorganized as many students forgot who was in their group or where to move and the process took too long. Mrs. Holly read off names and got them into their groups again. She also kept one group, as they were a group of 5 girls who were working well together. She has four Senior TA’s that are “in charge” of each of the individual groups that help the students and encourage them as she walks around looking over shoulders and giving some positive feedback but mostly just watches. The students kept talking too loudly so she used a handclapping technique to get their attention. She taught it to them first, she claps once, they clap twice. What surprised me is that Mrs. Holly seemed to have more structure with this class of students than she did with her senior classes. (This observed behavior is inconsistent with FEAP 2 as the teacher did not manage time well – however it was a better effort than her first two classes)
Period 4 Photography- Mr. Jackson 2:05-3:15
This class is mostly seniors with a few juniors in it. The class is taught in a smallish computer lab with 5 rows of about four to five computers in each row. There are about 12 students in this class. He starts the class by calling roll. The students sit at their computer quietly. He explains what the students will typically be doing as this was only the second week of class and they hadn’t had a lot of time to do so yet. He explains the process of uploading the images they have taken and putting them into a folder on the server to critique. The students do this, taking a little longer than ideal, as there are definite technical issues. The students sit in the same seats but turn to face the board for critique. His critique involves asking a lot of questions and encouraging the students to be confident in their ideas and comments. The students are very attentive during this time. (FEAP 4 Assessment – Critique good concept and strong utilization of student involvement)
2. Focus your attention on how classroom time is structured? Use a watch to record the time involved in each of the following areas: How many minutes go by between the “bell” and when the teacher actually opens the class? How much time is used is in “housekeeping chores”? How much time is used to introduce the lesson? How long is the actual “work period”? When is clean up called? Does any “dead” time remain at the end of class? What conclusions can you draw regarding the impact of “time” on the teaching of art in a classroom?
Period 1 Portfolio Mrs. Holly 8:45- 10:15
About 10-20 minutes go by before Mrs. Holly even addresses the class. However, she opens the class door before the bell even rings, so students come in and sit down where they want. At 9:50 the announcements come on, Mrs. Holly tells all the students to stand for the pledge of allegiance. She is supposed to have a flag in the room but doesn’t so the students turn to face the corner of the room in the direction of the flag hanging outside the school. The students talk over or work through the rest of the announcements. The teacher called roll randomly during the class when she remembered she needed to do so. There is no lesson introduced, as these seniors are working on their own projects. The only instruction I heard her give was that by next week they were supposed to create a plan for the school year telling her what and how they were going to accomplish creating 10 works of art for their portfolios by the end of the semester. They need to tell her I am going to show you one sketch or one work of art each week as an example. The parents are to sign the plan as well as the teacher. She also kept mentioning that they needed to turn in work to Young Arts competition and should be working on pieces for that as well. She does adapt well but not quickly enough when the technology doesn’t work. She wanted to use the overhead projector to show students the readings she gave them and fidgeted with it for about 10 minutes on and off but decides to just read instead from the copy in her hand and have the students follow along looking at their copy. She doesn’t really introduce any lesson, she just runs down to the office makes copies of something she saw in a book she wanted the students to read, passes them out and tells them to follow along. Many students were not on the right page or following along, but texting or painting. She does work up until 5 minutes before the bell rings, when she tells students to clean up. She tells them this is part of their participation grade is how well they help clean the classroom after each period, because the year before she didn’t and her room was always a mess. I conclude that the students need as much work time as they can to create art and to make the most of that time they need more structure and guidance than Mrs. Holly is giving them. Perhaps an initial four to five step process when they come in the door including calling roll, going over what the students should be doing, and the long-term goals would be appropriate. (This observed behavior is inconsistent with FEAP’s 2 and 3 as the teacher did not manage time well, and although the teacher tried to incorporate technology, the technology didn’t work and students did not appear to be engaged in the learning process)
Period 2 AP Drawing Mrs. Holly 10:30- noon
This is the same issue. The students sit down where they want and about 10-15 minutes later Mrs. Holly acknowledges the class and asks them to hand in their 5 pieces they were to have completed over the summer. Some students started to hand them in but some didn’t even appear to hear her. She randomly decides to hold critique at this point against the student’s verbal preference. The students make their way to the back corner of the classroom where the critique was held. Students sat on stools or chairs behind a small loveseat, where the teacher and I sat. I feel this would have been better structured if the teacher were behind the students or beside them as some students were not paying attention throughout the critique. Many of the students did not have this assignment completed, and none of the students had the assignment completed to her specifications. She did most of the talking in the critiques, other than the student presenting. I feel more student contributions could have been made if she had encouraged more of it and been sitting in a location where she could not only see the art but also see the students. She never called roll in this class period and there were no announcements. She took the critique up to the last 5 minutes of class and mentioned that they needed to have their pieces photographed and that she was only grading photographed work this year. (FEAP 4 Assessment – Critique good concept but didn’t get enough student involvement) (This observed behavior is inconsistent with FEAP 2 – maintaining an adequate learning environment)
Period 3 6th Grade Wheel Mrs. Holly 1:05-2:05
This class she did a much better job of starting right away once she got to class but she was a few minutes late to the cafeteria, I assume because she had to go to the art room to grab her cart before heading to the cafeteria after her lunch. A student mentioned that she was always late to this class. Once she arrived though she immediately started to call roll and told the students to work on arranging the images they had in front of them into a collage. She still seemed a little unorganized but had better control and structure then her two previous classes. The students got a little loud so she initiated the hand clapping approach, which appeared to work to get the students attention. She again worked right up until the bell. No lesson was introduced, as this was a carryover assignment from a previous class. She did ask a question about who the artist was that they had looked at for inspiration for the project. (David Hockney) (This observed behavior is inconsistent with FEAP 2 as the teacher did not manage time well – however it was a better effort than her first two classes)
Period 4 Photography- Mr. Jackson 2:05-3:15
Mr. Jackson immediately comes in sits down and calls roll, then he introduced me and began to go over what the normal procedures will be in the class since this was only the second week of school the students had only taken pictures at this point not, uploaded any. So he explained about how much time he would give at the beginning of each class to allow for uploading images onto the server for critique and then explained what would happen next. Then he let the students go to upload what they needed to. The uploading took longer than would be ideal as there were a few technical problems and many students had never used a card reader before etc. He talked to me about his background and goals for the class while students were uploading seemed very organized and was attentive to students with hands raised, said excuse me and went to help the student making that his obvious first priority. During critique he asked numerous questions and encouraged confidence in the students’ ideas and comments. He did little talking but would reiterate or reword student’s comments and points made as to confirm understanding by the whole class. He worked up until the bell rang. (FEAP’s 2 and 3 – The teacher does an excellent job of managing time and encouraging student involvement and exploration of concepts)
3. When a lesson is being presented, focus your attention on the structure of an art lesson? What seems to be the purpose of the lesson? How does the teacher introduce the lesson? What materials are being used? How are they distributed? What are the “student steps” in the activity? How is clean up handled? How is the lesson objective reinforced? How can the lesson objective be evaluated?
Period 1 Portfolio Mrs. Holly 8:45- 10:15
The materials for this class were paints or charcoal or whatever medium the students needed to work on their art. The students got these out themselves and knew where everything was as they were in her class in years past. Some of the materials are in a locked cabinet so the students had to ask the teacher for a key. There was again no real structure or handing out different materials when students worked on their art. Mrs. Holly decided she wanted the students to read an article out of a book and went to make copies and then came back and walked around the class putting them in front of each student. There was neither a real lesson nor any obvious objective other than to read this article she saw as she was flipping through the book. At one point she did realize students weren’t paying attention and instructed for volunteers to read paragraphs from the handout. She would walk around the room at this point and put the handout in front of some of the students who were not paying attention and would turn the handout pages to the right page for those who were not on the right page. Once volunteers stopped she began picking students to read. She called clean up five minutes before class and most students helped while a few did not and left the room. She told the students to take the handout with them and that if they left them on the tables it showed her they didn’t care. She told them to read it. She talked briefly about specific points in the article but many of the students were still drawing or painting while the reading of the handout was occurring. The lesson objectives can be evaluated by the student’s use of the information they are reading about in the art works they are creating. (This observed behavior is inconsistent with FEAP 2 – maintaining an adequate learning environment)
Period 2 AP Drawing Mrs. Holly 10:30- noon
There were no materials used in this class, some students got out mediums and started working on pieces, but once she started the class it was critique so the only real materials needed were the easels to put the works of art on to critique and chairs or stools for students to sit on. The students got the chairs themselves and the easels were already set up. Mrs. Holly just moved them a little further apart so the students’ works were somewhat easier to see for all students. The steps were for volunteers to one at a time put all five of the required completed works of art onto the easels and talk about which one was created by influence from a famous artist they were to have studied and written a short biography over. The students were then expected to explain how the other four pieces used techniques of the other artists on a list she sent them over the summer. Many students did not have four pieces completed and not one had the short biography. The lesson objective appeared to be evaluated strictly by the number of completed works of art by each student as that is the only information she wrote on her grading sheet. (This observed behavior is inconsistent FEAP’s 3 and 4 – although the lesson may have been designed adequately there is no evidence of student engagement or learning, nor is there any evidence of teacher expectation that the lesson had value as the teacher appeared willing to accept the student lack of effort. The teacher may want to start a policy related to not accepting zeros.)
Period 3 6th Grade Wheel Mrs. Holly 1:05-2:05
The purpose of this previously taught lesson appeared to me to be the study of an artist’s (David Hockney) work and techniques and then creating their own work of art using David Hockney’s technique or style. Therefore, the objective was to learn about another artist’s work and engage the same technique or style into creating one’s own piece. The students brought the needed materials with them that consisted of glue and scissors. Mrs. Holly told them to glue their work of art down onto a white cardboard piece she had brought with her. However, Mrs. Holly didn’t have enough of them and decided she didn’t like that as an option. Mrs. Holly decided she wanted something bigger, so she sent a TA to her classroom to find bigger cardboard and more of it. She then had the TA pass out a board to each group. Clean up was given at three minutes as she lost track of time. The students cleaned up for the most part but there were a few random images left on the table. The TA’s handed her those images and she threw the images onto her cart as she pushed it back down to her classroom. This lesson will be evaluated by the students’ ability to understand and utilize the techniques and style used by the artist as well as how well they worked in their groups. (FEAP 2 – This behavior is inconsistent with FEAP 2 because the teacher does not manage time well and never seems to have the lesson totally planned with all required materials readily available)
Period 4 Photography- Mr. Jackson 2:05-3:15
The materials needed for this lesson were the student’s personal camera, a computer with the correct programs on it, and a card reader. The students already have their own cameras that they bring with them to every class and that they use to take the assigned lessons. The computer lab has the card readers and computers with the correct programs on them. Mr. Jackson hands out the two card readers he has to the class and tells them to pass them around after they have uploaded what they need so that others can get their images uploaded quickly. He explains to me that the assignment they were given last week was for the students to take five images each with specific criteria such as a candid photo, or a photo with texture. He explains that it was rather ambiguous purposefully because he wanted to see where they are technically and artistically before giving them any instruction, allowing them to just go out and take images with little instruction to see what they are bringing to the table before he teaches them anything specific. They were also required to choose two pictures from the Olympic games taken by a photographer and explain why they feel they were drawn to the image and make the image fantastic. Once the students have uploaded the images, he quickly moves the images into a PowerPoint from his teacher computer and pulls the images up on the screen one at a time to hold a critique. He asks multiple open ended questions and reiterates or rephrases well-raised points by students as they talk about the Olympic images. He talked about the Olympic images first because some of the students were still uploading their other five images but all students had uploaded the Olympic images. The class time only allowed time to get through the Olympic images, but students made many comments about elements and characteristics of art such as line color, shape and composition. The objectives of the lesson were achieved as the students discussed the qualities of art based on the Olympic Game photos and the teacher had his pool of images that he could analyze to determine current level of student expertise.
What conclusions can you draw regarding the impact of the lesson structure on the student’s attitude and learning?
I noticed that the more structure a teacher gave the students in terms of outlining the classes’ objectives and describing where they are going as well as immediately acknowledging the students efforts and providing recognition/feedback seemed to produce the best results and elicit the best responses from the students. This observation is consistent with both FEAP’s one and two as the outlining of objectives and expectations are consistent with aligning and sequencing instruction and the immediate recognition/feedback is consistent with maintaining an atmosphere of openness and support.
Planning and Assessment Strategies- Observation 2
1. What is the relationship between the objectives of the observed lesson and the assessment? What are the students asked to know or be able to do in this lesson? How do the motivational strategies and instruction support these outcomes?
Mrs. Holly’s 6th grade wheel class- 9/6/12 the students are asked to create squares and rectangles and then turn them into cubes using shading and gradation. They use dark and light color to show dimension. She asked questions such as if the sun was hitting the cube from this side, which side of the cube is darkest, side 1, 2, or 3 and why? She demonstrates on her projector. Towards the end of the class she asked her TA’s to pick the best shading examples in their groups. Mrs. Holly put them on the projector and showed the other students what makes them successful. (The Learning Environment- Integrates current information and communication technologies.) (Instructional Delivery and Facilitation- Apply varied instructional strategies and resources, including appropriate technology, to provide comprehensible instruction, and to teach for student understanding.)
Mr. Jackson’s Photography class- 9/20/12 asked the students to take two images of contrasting textures. These images needed to be artistically produced and interesting, not stereotypical. He explained that stereotypical texture images are like a cactus close up. He asked them to be creative.
2. How has the teacher made the students aware of the criteria by which they will be assessed? Is this done at the beginning of the instruction, during instruction, or at other points? Is this information given to the students orally, written, or displayed?
Mrs. Holly’s AP Painting/Drawing class- emailed students over the summer with a summer project as well as with the year’s syllabus. She did not have an extra copy of this syllabus to show me, but this is apparently how most initial communication starts between her and her students. 8/28/12 The second class I observed of hers, she held an impromptu critique over the summer assignment she gave them. This was the second week of school. It is many students third year with this art teacher and out of 10 students’ only one student half understood her expectations of the assignment and had most of the assignment completed in that she had five original art pieces. She created one, which was inspired by an artist the student looked up and handed in a short biography on that person. Another artist from a list Mrs. Holly attached with the assignment inspired the other four pieces. The only thing this student did not have was an image of the artist’s work that the student researched. Only one other student turned in a biography on an artist he/she had researched but that student only created 4 pieces instead of the assigned 5. The other 8 students either did not have any pieces in class to show during this critique or only had between 2-3 pieces completed rather than the assigned 5 and none of these 8 students turned in a biography. This makes me assume that her assignment or method of communication was not clear or effective. During the critique she sat on a couch in front of the students who were all sitting on stools or chairs behind her. One student at a time would come up, put there five pieces on five different easels and she would ask them to tell her about their pieces and to show which one was influenced by an artist they researched. Most students were not overly talkative. As a teacher I would have situated myself behind the students and let the students take over the critique, as they are juniors and seniors in high school. On her grade sheet, she only wrote down the number of pieces they had completed. If they completed 4 pieces she wrote the number four beside their name on the grade sheet, if they didn’t have any she wrote a 0 by there name. I was a little surprised/confused however, because the following week when I went back to observe her class, some of the students were still turning pieces in for this assignment. I assume she is accepting it as late work, but that is a lot of late work. The good news is that she showed some signs that the assignment had enough value that it was better that students turned it in late rather than never, and showed signs of not accepting zeros as mentioned in the previous discussion. This assignment was based partly on the data the school had collected showing that students were weakest in the area of research. This project required the students to research an artist on their own time and write a short biography of them. The problem is that for whatever reasons, poor communication, and students choosing not to, etc. most students did not do the research part of the assignment. If research is the target area then it makes sense that this component of the lesson needed to be guided practice and worked on together so that the students ended up with a quality product rather than be left to their own devices. (The Learning Environment- Models clear, acceptable oral and written communication skills.) (Instructional Design and Lesson Planning- Uses a variety of data, independently, and in collaboration with colleagues, to evaluate learning outcomes, adjust planning and continuously improve the effectiveness of the lessons. Develops learning experiences that require students to demonstrate a variety of applicable skills and competencies.) (Assessment- Designs and aligns formative and summative assessments that match learning objectives and lead to mastery)
Mrs. Holly told me at the end of this class that sometimes she holds written critiques to accommodate those students who do not do as well speaking in front of people. (The Learning Environment- Adapts the learning environment to accommodate the differing needs and diversity of students.)
3. Does the art teacher utilize rubrics as part of the assessment strategy? Are the students participants in creating the lesson rubrics?
Mrs. Holly- I have never seen Mrs. Holly use a rubric or involve the students in creating any. I am unsure how she is grading their work. She once showed me her grade book and said she hadn’t had time to input any grades yet. 9/12/12
Mr. Jackson- uses many rubrics. A few, which I have attached. His assessment system of rubrics seems straightforward and easy to use. He has a separate rubric for each assignment in each class. (Assessment- Uses a variety of assessment tools to monitor student progress, achievement, and learning gains.)
4. What types of assessment strategies does the art teacher use in the classroom? That is, is the student learning documented through formal or informal observation, discussion, checklist, classroom critique, portfolio review or other methods? Notice the variety as well as at what point during the lesson the teacher utilizes these methods.
Mrs. Holly assesses her students mostly by informal observation, discussion, and portfolio review. One of the requirements from Mrs. Holly and Mr. Jackson is that every student documents through photography every piece they wish to have graded. The students then submit their images to a folder on the main hard drive at the school and that is what the teacher’s grade. I tend to feel that most of the time images do not do art works justice so I find it slightly unfair to only grade work based on an image, as Mrs. Holly does. However, I think Mr. Jackson’s approach of grading their pieces in person and then using the images in the folder, as a participation grade is reasonable. Although I think it beneficial to require that work be documented, I think the students need to have a class on the appropriate and best way to document their work, as some of the students in Mrs. Holly’s classes I noticed did not know how to use a camera properly or even how to set up their work to get the best image of it. Many of the students brought work up to photograph that was in poor condition, edges were bent and torn, some pieces even had holes in them. I have to assume that this is partly a reflection on Mrs. Holly’s non-organization as well as her past expectations. Mrs. Holly seems to randomly decide to have critiques in which some students are prepared and others are not. I can see the benefit of having an impromptu critique in catching ill prepared students, especially when students know the assignment is due, but I think students respond better when they know when a critique is going to happen. The impromptu technique forces students to recognize that they need to be prepared because you never know when a critique is coming, but then if they are not prepared to have a critique that class period, the environment of the classroom energy is brought down, students seemed discouraged or uninterested, and many students “checked out” early as they say while critique was going on.
Mr. Jackson uses data and past experience to develop lessons, and uses many different rubrics and tests to assess students. Again I have attached some of the rubrics he utilizes as well as a student evaluation form of assessment. 9/20/12 He also gives students Photoshop quizzes in which he gives them an image and asks them to fix it by making it a better image using the current Photoshop skills they know. I felt at first that this was a fairly subjective type of quiz to give, as what makes an image better could be different for everyone. However, he mentioned that he does not grade them on whether they correct the image the same way he imagines in his head that make it better, he grades them on whether they improve the image and use the Photoshop tools correctly. He even walked by one students computer while they were working on the image and said, “ That is not the direction I would have gone to correct the image but I like it, I think it works.” (Instructional Strategies and Lesson Planning- Sequences lessons and concepts to ensure coherence and required prior knowledge. Selects appropriate formative assessments to monitor learning. Uses a variety of data, independently, and in collaboration with colleagues, to evaluate learning outcomes, adjust planning and continuously improve the effectiveness of the lessons.) (Assessment- Applies technology to organize and integrate assessment information)
5. Is there evidence of student self- assessment techniques being utilized? What are these self- assessment techniques?
Mr. Jackson uses a self- assessment sheet that I have attached to the bottom of this document. He hands this sheet out to students, giving them half a class period to complete it based on a given project they have just completed. His questions are thorough and he does a good job of going over what his expectations of them are when filling this sheet out, explaining that giving themselves better comments and a better overall grade does not mean that their grade on the project will be whatever grade they decide to give themselves. He explains that part of their grade is determined on how critical they are on themselves. He mentions that, “as artists and Katie can attest to this I’m sure we’re much harder on ourselves then other are.” To encourage students to critically examine their work and take time to really be honest and thorough when filling out they’re self- critiques. (Instructional Delivery and Facilitation- Utilize student feedback to monitor instructional needs and to adjust instruction). (Assessment- uses a variety of assessment tools to monitor student progress, achievement and learning gains.) Often times Mr. Jackson will also just simply ask to students aloud in class to assess their projects. Asking questions such as do you think its finished? What would you add or take away to make this better?
6. Ask the teacher how student grades are calculated and what reporting process is used in their school. Ask the teacher to what extent the informal and formal assessments are reflected in the student’s grades. What other variables affect the student’s grades?
Mrs. Holly includes participation points in their final grade, part of their participation points are cleaning up after themselves at the end of class. Participating in articles she has the class read, etc. She told me that in years past students would just leave the room a mess after class and she would be left with clean up duty after school hours. She said this year she told them the first day of class that each day they would get ten points for participation, which included how well they clean up after themselves. So far this year it has been pretty good. (The Learning Environment- Organizes, allocates, and manages the resources of time, space, and attention.)
Both Mrs. Holly’s informal and formal assessments are reflected in the student’s grade mostly by a point system where as Mr. Jackson works on a percentage weight system.
Both teachers use a computer program to input grades, however, Mrs. Holly showed me her online grade books and most of them were empty, meaning she had no grades listed in her grade book beside the student’s names. She said she hasn’t had time to input the grades yet.
However, Mr. Huntington pulls up his grade book on his laptop when he grades. He calls students up one at a time to check their sketchbooks, individual assignments, or projects. He talks to them one on one away from other students, gives them constructive feedback, encourages them to work on something specific, and then as they walk away he inputs their grade into his grade book. He also has rubrics for all major projects that are based on numbers 1-4 with 4 being an A and 1 being a D. Each student gets a copy of this rubric before the assignment so they know how they are being assessed over the project and where they need to improve. (Assessment- Shares the importance and outcomes of student assessment data with the student and the student’s parent/caregiver(s). Applies technology to organize and integrate assessment information)
7. Ask the teacher how s/he incorporates the Florida Sunshine Standards in Art into his/her instructional planning and assessment of student learning.
Mrs. Holly- 9/12/12 did not seem to know what the Florida sunshine standards in art were specifically. She showed me in her online lesson plan program where there was a drop down menu with a list of all of the standards that she could click on to add to any lesson plan she created. She demonstrated how easy it was to click and add any of them should they be relevant to the lesson. She then stated that she had not turned in a lesson plan in over three years. I was shocked in hearing this but she said that she produces talented students who win awards and help give the school a name, so they leave her alone. By they I assume she means the administration. My question is in a fine arts school where students have to audition to get into the school, my assumption would be that all of the students are talented and therefore should be producing awards and recognition, but how much of those awards and recognition is a result of Mrs. Holly’s instructional efforts and how much is a result of students who are naturally very talented.
8. What evidence do you observe that shows an impact of instruction on student learning and performance in art?
Mrs. Holly gives the students in her classes a test that shows her what they already know and what areas she needs to focus her instruction on. The test she gave them was long and she mentioned to me a few weeks later that she over tested the students. There were over 30 questions on the exam, some open-ended, some multiple choice. She also mentioned that some of the students had her two class periods in a row and therefore tested for three hours straight. She said it was too much and she didn’t realize that, but that it was stuff that juniors and seniors should know. (Assessment- Analyzes and applies data from multiple assessments and measure to diagnose student’s learning needs, informs instruction based on those needs, and drives the learning process.) (Instructional Design and Lesson Planning- Designs instruction for students to achieve mastery.)(Instructional Delivery and Facilitation- Identify gaps in student’s subject matter knowledge.)
9. Ask the teacher if s/he has to document the impact s/he has on student learning and performance in art.
9/12/12 Mrs. Holly said that every year the teachers have to fill out a IPDP plan or something like it, she couldn’t quite remember the name of the form, but the form is used for teachers to share their reflections on themselves as teachers. She did not elaborate on this much, but it does appear that the students do have to self-assess themselves throughout the year.
10. How does the teacher exhibit student progress, learning, and performance in art?
Mr. Jackson gives progress reports every 6 weeks or so, this way the students can see their progress and areas where they need to improve. (Assessment- Shares the importance and outcomes of student assessment data with the student and the student’s parent/caregiver(s).)
Both Mr. Jackson and Mrs. Holly display work in the hallway and encourage students to enter art shows and competitions.
Special Populations- Observation 4
1. How does the art teacher incorporate student characteristics, experiences, and interests into instructional planning? What evidence do you see of this?
Sadly, I do not see much evidence of Mrs. Holly incorporating student’s interests into her instructional planning. Both Mrs. Holly and Mr. Jackson expressed to me that the students have been very interested in sculptural work and ceramics but Mrs. Holly expressed that she doesn’t feel that she has the time to incorporate such instructional lessons into her curriculum and Mr. Jackson expressed that he isn’t comfortable enough with sculpture and 3D forms to instruct such lessons.
9/19/12 Mr. Jackson allows students to bring objects of their choice in many times to draw for an assignment. He gives them parameters such as the object has to be at least 10 inches in any direction, but he gives them the choice to bring in whatever object they so desire to draw. 9/13/12 Another assignment he encouraged the students to create a two-point perspective drawing of an imaginary place they wish existed. (Instructional Delivery and Facilitation- Relate and integrate the subject matter with other disciplines and life experiences.)
He also expressed that in his opinion and as he has witnessed from students behavior, students like having structure. They like knowing that when they come into his classroom they are going to work and learn for that hour and a half.
2. Are the classes you are observing inclusive? That is, are students with disabilities included in the general art classes or do they come to art in a separate class? What accommodations has the art teacher made to the room, furniture arrangement, location of materials, position of displays, access to sinks, and so on for students with disabilities in the art room?
Since this is a fine arts school that enrolls by an audition process only, there are not many students enrolled that have disabilities. There are a few English Language Learners that I discovered when working on my data plan but these students are not in any of the classes I observed. However, I did talk to Mr. Jackson about special populations. He informed me that they did have a blind student once who was given an assistant, brail books, as well as other modifications. He said that it was educational for him to see her in the school and to watch her each week at the weekly-required student performances. He said that she could identify the teachers by the sound of their walking or breathing. He said that he knew that when someone had an impairment of one sense their other senses were much stronger and they became much more aware of their surroundings, but it was an experience to see it happen in front of him. This particular student was a music major not an art major, so she was not in any of his classes. When they do have students with disabilities at the school, the students are incorporated into the general classes; there is no separate classroom for them. (Learning Environment- Adapts the learning environment to accommodate the differing needs and diversity of students.) (Instructional Delivery and Facilitation- Differentiate instruction based on an assessment of student learning needs and recognition of individual differences in students.)
3. If the art teacher instructs students with disabilities in a separate class, compare the interaction between student in general art classes and in the segregated class. How does the art teacher provide for the most productive environment in both formats?
As I stated above there are no separate classes for students with disabilities at the school, however, I have observed things that teachers have done and not done to provide a productive classroom environment in the general art classroom.
Mr. Jackson uses his time wisely and is very organized. The students walk in, he calls roll, tells them what they should be working on, what there new assignment is, does a demo, tells them where they are headed or how specific ideas are being connected as they move forward, whatever the days objectives or lesson is, he completes explaining and demonstrating that first. An example of this is 9/13/12 as he walked in, set up his laptop at the end of a table while the students were coming in and getting seated. He called roll as they were getting seated. Then he stood in the middle of the room with the students sitting at tables surrounding him and explained what they should be working on. He then stated that he would be calling students up one at a time to go over their sketchbooks, which were due today. He said once he was finished he would come around and help anyone who was having trouble. He then sat down at the end of the table and called the first student up. He looked at their sketchbook, gave them constructive feedback, gave them a grade and then called up the next student. If the class got to loud he would simply say it is getting too loud in here you all have something to be working on. He continued looking at student’s sketchbooks till he got through each student. Once he was finished he walked back into the center of the students and asked if anyone needed help. He sat in front of them and helped them individually till 5 minutes till the bell when he told them to start cleaning up. During clean up he also stated what they would be doing the next class period and what they needed to bring with them. Some of this information was repeated from the beginning of class. The organization of this day he has utilized in many other classes I have observed him other days teaching. This system of structure appeared to create the most productive environment where students and Mr. Jackson were able to accomplish the most in a small amount of time. (The Learning Environment- Organizes, allocates, and manages the resources of time, space, and attention. Manages individual and class behaviors through a well-planned management system. Conveys high expectations to all students.)
4. For students with disabilities, how has the art teacher accommodated the student by adjusting the motivation, instructions, materials, process, time, sequence, or individualized attention? Notice which of these strategies the art teacher utilizes to engage the learner at different points during the lesson.
5. What adjustments have been made in the performance assessment to assist students in demonstrating the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they have developed from their participation in visual arts instruction?
6. Ask the teacher how s/he is informed of a particular student’s situation or needs. Is it through formal or informal discussion with the classroom teacher, guidance counselor, parent or caregiver? Did the art teacher read or become involved in the student’s IEP (individualized Education Program) at some point? What resources, human or otherwise are available to the art teacher at this school related to students with disabilities?
Questions 4, 5, and 6 are not frequently addressed in this school because there are almost never students with disabilities admitted. I feel this is an opportunity that the school population is missing because a great deal can be learned from students with disabilities. My experience observing my mom as she taught many different levels of students with physical and/or academic disabilities taught me a great deal about the disabled population and the experiences that they can offer to the learning process.
Classroom Management (How the teacher controls the class)- Observation 4
1. What verbal and nonverbal cues does the teacher use (e.g., voice, gestures, expressions, humor, enthusiasm, comments, body position, eye contact, moving about the room, etc.)?
Mrs. Holly 6th grade wheel class- 8/28/12 taught students in the second week of school that if she claps once they are to clap twice and then be silent/stop talking. This is because the talking was getting way to out of hand. Mrs. Holly uses this clapping technique at least once in almost every class to get students to be quiet when they get too loud. (The Learning Environment- Manages individual and class behaviors through a well-planned management system) Once they quiet down she explains that it is getting too loud. 9/26/12 In one class she told students from the beginning that there was to be no talking but she said it as if it was an afterthought as she was passing out paper. The students got too loud during the class, she used the clapping technique and then threatened them saying, “keep talking, I will send you to the principle, you can finish your drawing there. Test me. See if I will do it!” I think in this particular situation if she said at the beginning of class before passing out materials or anything that there was no talking during this assignment, instead of saying it while walking around passing out materials when the students were not focused entirely on her anymore, she would have been more successful in getting the quiet environment she wanted. (The Learning Environment- Organizes, allocates, and manages the resources of time, space, and attention)
Mr. Jackson- does not appear to have too many disciplinary issues in his classes. If the students start getting too loud he will reprimand them saying it is getting too loud in here and the students will quiet down. (The Learning Environment- conveys high expectations to all students) There is one student who continuously talks and disrupts other students. 9/27/12 In one class the student was talking a lot and a few of the other students got frustrated with him and “sshhhhed” him. Mr. Jackson then said, “Yes thank you. Mr. Jolly (the student) I am getting really tired of having to tell you daily to be quiet and now your fellow classmates are getting tired of it as well. This needs to stop.” 9/27/12 Mr. Jackson did mention to me in one class that letting the students listen to their own iPods/phones music with earphones helped the students focus and be quiet during the class. He also mentioned that they produced better quality work in general when allowed to listen to their own music. He often plays music on a boom box in the classroom but it does not have the same effect as letting the students listen to their own music through earphones. He said he doesn’t like to have students listen to their own music through headphones but he might have to do that because he was getting tired of the noise. If students start talking to much when he wants to talk, he just stands and says, “I’ll wait” and he doesn’t talk until they stop. 9/19/12 In one class, he looked at three girls who are giggling and says “don’t make me take your toys away children.” Toys meaning the objects they were supposed to have brought in with them to draw. (The Learning Environment- Manages individual and class behaviors through a well-planned management system; Organizes, allocates, and manages the resources of time, space, and attention.)
Mrs. Holly’s two morning classes- full of seniors and junior with whom she rarely if ever reprimands or discusses their being loud, not working, walking around the room, etc. The only thing I hear her mention in these classes often is clean up, if stuff is left out as the students leave the classroom she yells to them in general that someone better clean this up because she still sees some stuff back there on that easel.
2. Does this teacher inform students of the objectives of the lesson at or near the start of class?
Mr. Jackson- goes over the day’s objectives at the beginning of class and asks if there are any questions. They are very clear, concise, and to the point. 9/13/12 Today you will continue working on your breath due Friday. If you have not already turned in Breath number 3 you need to submit that to the correct file folder. This is a workday; use it to your advantage. If you have questions please let me know. (The Learning Environment- Organizes, allocates, and manages the resources of time, space, and attention. Models clear acceptable oral and written communication skills)
Mrs. Holly’s 6th grade wheel class- reminds the students about what they were learning or talking about in the class previous to this one. 9/20/12 She asks, “Who can tell me what we were talking about Tuesday? What was the artist’s name who we were discussing?” She then tells them what they are going to do today by saying something to the effect of, today you are going to be drawing this horse upside down. Not tracing. (After she says this one student has already started tracing the horse in front of her) She reprimands him saying we are not tracing, that’s cheating. She then demonstrates on a projector how to draw the horse not by thinking of it as a horse but by looking at the shapes and forms and recreating what you see on paper. (Instructional Design and Lesson Planning- Sequences lessons and concepts to ensure coherence and required prior knowledge.)
9/26/12 In another class of Mrs. Holly’s 6th graders- she tells the students they will be drawing their hands by looking at them, doing a contour line drawing of their hands. Then they will outline their hands and add color with markers. Her explanation was very broken up and she did not demonstrate as she said demonstrating makes the students turn in 20 copies of her demonstration rather than think on their own. She used Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel of God reaching out to Adam as an example of what sort of composition she wanted the students to draw. Most students had no idea what image she was talking about. As she started to walk around the room to look at what students were doing and to help, one student near me asked me if I knew what they were supposed to be doing because she was confused. If I were the teacher I would have given fewer directions at first. I would have waited until the students had drawn both hands on their paper before giving them the instruction using the markers to outline. I also would have shown the students what she wanted by holding a piece of paper up in the air and having all the students look at me as I do so, putting my hands in front of the paper to show what type of composition I want them drawn in. I would have brought in a copy of the image of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel if I were planning on using that as a reference. Before walking away to start helping and looking around the room, I also would have asked if anyone had any questions.
9/26/12 Mrs. Holly does tell the students what they will be learning or doing in the next period at the end of this class.
3. How does the teacher deal with behavioral problems that occur during the class period? For example, are there certain inappropriate behaviors that the teacher ignores? Are warnings given to students who misbehave? Does the teacher send students to a time-out area?
Mrs. Holly’s Portfolio class- students are up walking around, some are working some are not, some are working on art pieces for other classes, and many are talking. She never says anything to them. I am not sure if this is because they are seniors and her attitude is that what they get out of the class is what they get out of the class, or if she is just so unorganized in the mornings that she doesn’t take time to look at what the students are doing. 9/20/12 In one class three girls had canvases leaning against the table sitting in their laps while studying their art history books that were behind the canvases for the art history quiz they had later that day. The girls were studying for most of the class until Mrs. Holly finally walked back by them and saw what they were doing. She told them that she didn’t mind them studying art history while working, but they had to be doing some work for her class too. I do not believe that it is appropriate to allow students to paint with a canvas in their laps as they should be standing or sitting on a stool at an easel which are readily accessible in the classroom. Mrs. Holly appears to ignore most behavior issues. Students talk throughout her entire class, but as she mentioned to me during the first class, organization is not her strength and that is what she is working on this year. Most mornings during this class she is running errands to the front office, “getting organized” for the day and answering questions when students come up to her and ask. This FEAP was very lacking in this class, (The Learning Environment- Manages individual and class behaviors through a well-planned management system)
4. To what extent does the teacher encourage students to take responsibility for their behavior and reinforce their behavior when they have been attentive or on task? To what extent does the teacher redirect students who are off-task by reminding them of the objectives of the lesson? Conversely, to what extent does the teacher praise students for work successfully completed or for good behavior during the class period?
Mr. Jackson- praises students one on one each day that he grades their sketchbooks. He calls the students up one at a time, looks at their assignment, gives constructive feedback, saying things such as:
“Try not to use freehand when you go back in, try to use a ruler as much as possible. Words are difficult to do but good job, they look good. Overall it looks good.”
Another student, “watch for smudges from your hand as you are working”
Another student, “much better, good job”
Another student, “focus on consistency, I can see where you used a ruler and where you freehanded, try to be consistent.”
One student created total assignment image from head, he liked this idea and used it to alter the assignment. Now the two-point perspective had to be drawn from an imaginary place they create from their head. He thanked the student for the great idea! Same student, “Bring horizon line up or down depending on what perspective you want, do you want it to appear like you are looking up at the town, or straight out onto the town.
One student, came up to him at the beginning of class and asked if there was a way he could quickly raise his grade, Mr. Jackson replied no, the way to raise your grade is to turn your work in on time and completed. When this student turns in his 1pt perspective assignment Mr. Jackson says, “ do you remember that question you asked me from the beginning of class, well this is from teacher to student you need to step up your game. You’re talented absolutely but you’re giving me your bare minimum. Your excuse is always, “I don’t know how” and that’s fine you’re entitled to not know how or to not understand but you have resources. Your dad was here at parent teacher night and I know he believes in you just as I do. I don’t want Jacob’s avg. I want Jacob’s best.
Once Mr. Jackson has approved the student’s work in their sketchbook, he hands the student a piece of paper to begin their next assignment.
(The Learning Environment- conveys high expectations to all students. Maintains a climate of openness, inquiry, fairness, and support.) And
(The Learning Environment- Organizes, allocates, and manages the resources of time, space, and attention.)
9/13/12 Students keep asking Mr. Jackson when this assignment is due, his response is, “I am going to dictate that based on how well you guys utilize your time today, because the talking is getting a little out of hand.” “You dictate whether it is due Monday or tomorrow, but if it is due Monday I better drop down dead for how good it is.” (Instructional Design and Lesson Planning- Designs instruction for students to achieve mastery. Utilize student feedback to monitor instructional needs and to adjust instruction.)
5. To what extent does the teacher involve the students in the class (e.g., by asking open-ended questions to engage students in discussion, by using helpers to pass out and collect materials, by having students demonstrate procedures or skills to the class, by having students determine the rules of the class)?
Mrs. Holly 6th grade class- asks students many open ended questions, what did we learn last class, what artist were we discussing, 9/20/12 why is this assignment important, why are we doing this?
Mr. Jackson- asks more open-ended questions- 9/19/12 Gary was having trouble with this part of the two point perspective (demonstrates on a piece of paper), what’s wrong with that? Why doesn’t that work? What makes this work better? How should this be done? How does this relate to what we were learning last class? (Instructional Delivery and Facilitation- uses questioning strategies to deepen student understanding of concepts)
6. Does this teacher seat students who have difficulty behaving or paying attention in any special area of the classroom (e.g., the front of the class)?
Mrs. Holly’s 6th grade wheel class- 9/20/12 moves students who are talking or disrupting other students to come sit by her or splits them up so they are seated further away from other students in the class. (The Learning Environment- Organizes, allocates, and manages the resources of time, space, and attention) Since this class is in the cafeteria there is no real front of the class, the teacher sits at one of the two lunch tables the students are sitting at to demonstrate on an overhead projector and then walks around the remainder of the class looking over students’ shoulders and answering student questions.
Mr. Jackson- has never had to move students in any of the classes I have observed. He did separate students when giving an exam, but never for disciplinary reasons.
7. Find out what the teacher’s classroom rules are and how s/he arrived at these rules.
Mr. Jackson’s rules are clear cut and simple: keep talking to a minimum, ask questions if you don’t know something, no question is a stupid question, and when he is talking you are not. The students each have a hall pass book, where if they want to leave the classroom for any reason they have to write down in their book where they are going and have it signed by the teacher to be allowed to leave the room. (The Learning Environment- Models clear, acceptable oral and written communication skills.)
Mrs. Holly does not appear to have any specific rules she gave her classes. She appears to make them up on the spot. For example, when her 6th grade wheel class was talking too much she taught them the clapping method and now they do it. 9/12/12 The only rule she told me she has for them is that as part of their participation grade each day in the class they have to clean up. If art supplies and personal belongings are left in her classroom and stuff is not picked up at the end of class then the entire classes’ points for participation go down for that day, if she does not know exactly who created the mess (The Learning Environment- Conveys high expectations to all students.). She does give extra points to student(s) who stick around and pick up other’s mess. My only problem with this process is that those students who stay around to help clean up are usually late to the next class period and she has to write them an excuse note. If she gave them proper time to clean up at the end of each class, the students wouldn’t be in such a hurry to leave and could monitor clean up better.
What conclusions can you draw regarding the impact of the teacher’s verbal and nonverbal behavior on maintaining the learning environment?
Overall, the most successful techniques employed by the two teachers I observed are: First, when students are talking when the teacher needs to speak then saying, “I’ll wait” appears to work for the older students and the clapping technique for younger students; second, moving students to sit by the teacher or away from their friends who continually disrupt class is successful in creating a positive learning environment; third, teachers must pay attention and be consistent with whatever classroom control methods they choose to utilize, consistency is the key. I have noticed in Mrs. Holly’s class that students have learned what they can get away with in her class and because of that they do tend to walk over her at times, turn things in late because she is inconsistent or doesn’t enforce her requirements and rules. I have also noticed that because Mrs. Holly is unorganized and the students know this they do not take her as seriously and try to pull things over on her. I think a teacher needs to be consistent in verbal and non-verbal behavior and lay down classroom rules and structure at the beginning of the year. Every student and parent should be clear on the expectations and the consequences for not following the rules.
Final Observations and FEAPS- Observation 5
I observed 6 different classes, three of which were taught by Mr. Jackson (Photography, Drawing 1, and 2D/3D Art) and three that were taught by Mrs. Holly (Portfolio, AP Drawing/Painting, and 6th Grade Wheel) Each week I went two days a week either Tuesday and Wednesday or Wednesday and Thursday so that I could observe all of the art classes offered as the school works on a block schedule.
This final observation will explore the drastically different styles of the two teachers I observed and which FEAPS I found each of them to struggle with most and why.
Mrs. Holly admitted to me the first day I met her that her weakness was organization, which was something she was working on this year. She even looked at her class as she was telling me this and said, “right?” I appreciated that she was honest and “real” with her students, showing that we all have areas needing improvement. I also appreciated her honesty with herself. That being said, her lack of organization skills appeared to significantly affect her teaching. Another big concern I observed was that she seems to be a rather inconsistent teacher. Some days she seemed more on top of things, with lessons planned out and addressed her students more than other days. This inconsistency definitely affected the student’s performance in her classes.
Mrs. Holly’s Portfolio class
This is the first class Mrs. Holly has in the mornings every other day (block schedule). This class is for juniors and seniors to make a collection of work to submit to colleges or potential employers as a portfolio. This could be a great class for this age group; but unfortunately Mrs. Holly has given them too much unmonitored freedom. I feel that maybe she gives less instruction because the students are seniors, but if the students are seniors and aren’t using their time wisely then maybe they do not deserve to have such freedom.
Instructional Design and Lesson Planning
Mrs. Holly did not know what the state adopted standards were when I asked her about them. She has not turned in a lesson plan in over 3 years and purposefully gave little instruction in this class. She did not give instruction or teach lessons with this class, so how could the students achieve mastery. Mrs. Holly never gave a formal critique in the class and the little feedback students did receive when they came up and asked her, was short and sporadic, not planned or organized into the class structure. In this class she does not teach lessons, therefore there is no effort being put forth to collaborate with other teachers or improve lessons.
As a result of her being unorganized and running a chaotic classroom, students are not being encouraged or required to use their time wisely, nor is Mrs. Holly managing the time and space well. She spends most of the morning running errands and moving about the classroom practically ignoring her students. In my observations I did not see that she had a “well-planned” system for anything, especially not behavior problems. She did not appear bothered that student’s talk throughout the entire class, do not turn work in on time, some students don’t work in her class at all, and some students walk around the class the entire period, among other things. She does appear to maintain a climate of openness and fairness and inquiry. Students never appeared to be embarrassed or scared to ask her anything and because she is honest in her communication to them, they are honest with her. If she asks if they have work to turn in, they will flat out tell her no if they do not.
Instructional Delivery and Facilitation
Again in this class she does not deliver traditional lessons. The first week of class she tells them that they are making their own art (whatever they want to put into a portfolio.) She originally told the students that they each needed to write down a plan of action, which is a sentence or two telling her what they are going to turn in or have completed every week, have it signed by their parents and approved by her. However, I only saw one student turn one in the day she asked for it to be due. The student’s biggest challenge in this class is that they have to manage their time. The students seem to eventually turn in decent looking work. I have to assume most of the students do it at the last minute because of the little amount of work that is being done in the classroom. Mrs. Holly’s overall idea is good but not well executed. I think there should be more organized and planned check ups as the weeks go on to confirm students are working continuously and more feedback being initiated by her during class time. The second week when Mrs. Holly explained the classes goal of creating a portfolio of work they create individually, was a very broken up and unclear goal in the way she explained it. Students gave feedback by asking questions like is it ok if I do this, this is what I want to do, can I use a project from another class as part of my portfolio, etc. She seemed to get frustrated with the amount of questions. I feel if she were clearer in her initial communication this would not be as much of an issue.
There were no exams given, no critiques, no report cards, and no data collected to use to adjust learning objectives. Nothing of the sort utilized in this class (Portfolio) the only thing I saw her assessing were the images of the students’ work completed once they turn it in. I never saw her look at these images to grade them, but one time she did call out the names of the students who she had received images from, but she did this at the end of class as most of the students had already left. There was little feedback given on artwork in this class. One “critique” she called all students to gather around 10 min before the bell. The students gathered around her sitting in a chair, with artwork in hand. Each student held up their piece for a few minutes to show her what they had created. The first few students received decent feedback, but as she got to the end of the list she ran out of time, so the last few students did not receive any feedback. She just said, “Show me your piece I just need to see you have done something, we don’t have time.” Having the student’s crowd around in such a cramped area was obviously uncomfortable for the students as some of the students wanted to talk more one on one with the teacher about their art, especially if it was a work in progress. In fact, one student even told her that he needed to talk to her about it later. Her response, “I may not have time later.” The students were so on top of each other that as they were trying to show her their work, other students were at least partially blocking the image, completely obstructing any decent view from Mrs. Holly, where she could barely see the piece. So I do not know how she was determining a grade for it. It was certainly not an ideal situation and a poor assessment on how the students are progressing with their portfolios.
Continuous Professional Improvement
Mrs. Holly as I stated above does appear to be honest for the most part in that she admitted she was unorganized and it was something she needed to work on. She does communicate somewhat frequently with Mr. Jackson the other art teacher, but there collaboration could be more productive and beneficial to the students I feel if they spent more time together planning out what each grade should be learning, as Mr. Jackson teaches younger grades until they get to Mrs. Holly. Their lessons and objectives could build on each other so each year students understood better what they were going to be learning. However, I do feel that Mrs. Holly uses the students’ success in receiving awards and recognition for the school as a cover for what she doesn’t have “time” to do or things she knows she should be doing but isn’t.
Professional Responsibility and Ethical Conduct
Mrs. Holly does not appear to have great ethical conduct. She doesn’t generate behavior that could be considered as deserving a reprimand or loss of teaching credentials, but she just pushes the line of treating all students equally. For example, her daughter attends the school and she often drives her daughter’s friend’s home from school or goes to buy them lunch and brings it to her classroom to let them eat lunch in her classroom. Another example was a time I saw her ask students to help her with an art project, creating a piñata for a birthday party. The project had nothing to do with school or art class and nothing to do with a good quality art education program. The students at this school are very talented and as such produce higher than average quality work regardless of her teaching. She appears to take credit for their talent even though she does very little to enhance that talent.
Mrs. Holly’s AP Drawing Class
This class is primarily juniors and seniors again with one or two sophomores in it. The class is a studio art class where I assumed based on the class title, students should be drawing and working on drawing skills and concepts. I did see a little evidence of this occurring but not as much as I feel I should. This class had many of the same students from her first period Portfolio class. This class seemed to have more structure and a bit more instruction but still not ideal by any means.
Instructional Design and Lesson Planning
As I mentioned above Mrs. Holly did not seem to know what the state-adopted standards were, had not turned in a lesson plan in over 3 years, and does not seem to use great assessment methods in her classes and this class is no exception. Mrs. Holly does appear to have more lessons made up in her mind to use with this class. She also used data in this class. She mentioned to me that as a school, research was the big key idea that students in general appeared to have lowest scores on. Based on this data teachers were asked to incorporate research into their classes. Therefore, the first assignment Mrs. Holly gave the students was over the summer and required the students to research an artist and write a short biography over the artist. Next the student was to create a work of art inspired by the artist they researched. This was a great lesson but the objectives were not well communicated apparently, as most students were not able to complete this assignment properly or by the due date given.
This class used time more wisely and Mrs. Holly gave more instruction adding to the structure of the class. There was still a lot of talking and some students not working but not nearly as much as in the portfolio class. Mrs. Holly incorporated technology into one class by having the students watch a video. It took the first 15 minutes of class for her to figure out how to get the video to work, but she finally did. She also required that every student photograph their work and submit the photo as the final piece to be graded. So students are constantly working with technology.
Instructional Delivery and Facilitation
Some of her lessons seemed to be engaging while others did not seem to engage the students at all. The video I discuss above, was associated with an activity outside, where the students were given short spurts of time to draw or paint a circle, square, and triangle on a piece of paper taped to the wall in front of them. First they did this with charcoal, second they did this with paint. The goal was to get students to draw quickly and not think so much about trying to create the perfect painting, line, or shape, but to act on instinct. She said students are so used to drawing still life’s from Mr. Jackson’s classes that they struggled with abstraction and working quickly once they get to her classes. Here Mrs. Holly is taking into consideration the needs of the students and is identifying gaps in student’s subject matter knowledge. 8/28/12 In one class she randomly decided to go make copies of an article from a book she was showing me and have the students read it. She couldn’t get the projector to work so she started reading aloud from her copy. So she is quick to adapt or adjust when things do not pan out. Once she noticed many students weren’t paying attention but working on art pieces, or homework for other classes, she began calling on students to read a loud to the class. She even walked around the room and put the article in front of students who weren’t paying attention and stood by them so they would pay attention. This was the most structured and well-organized class I observed of hers. This was also the only class I observed that incorporated reading. After the reading she asked questions, forcing the students to verbalize thoughts and ideas deepening their understanding of the subject area.
Mrs. Holly held one impromptu formal critique in this class and gave one exam. The formal critique was not ideal in that students were not active participants when they were not standing up showing their pieces. Mrs. Holly sat in front of the students and snapped her finger behind her head whenever students were talking too much or were laughing at something. However, Mrs. Holly was very encouraging and asked the students great questions to keep them talking and force them to verbalize decisions they made in their art pieces. The exam she gave them she admitted was too long, but argued that it was stuff the students should know by now being seniors. She stated a few weeks after that the students did really badly on the exam. I feel that a review of the information should have been given. However, Mrs. Holly said that part of the exam was to see what the students know and where she needs to give further instruction. However, I did not see evidence that she was using this new data in her future instruction as the weeks went on.
Continuous Professional Improvement
For this class Mrs. Holly did appear to collaborate more with Mr. Jackson in terms of seeing and asking what he was doing as opposed to what she was teaching. She told me that she noticed it was really difficult to get students to think outside the box or to do abstract work once she got them, because Mr. Jackson required the students to draw so many still life’s.
Professional Responsibility and Ethical Conduct
Mrs. Holly does not attend the weekly Wednesday performances at the school to show support for her students. She defends this decision stating that this year she was not given a planning period and because of this she plans during the assembly each week. I do not know that I agree with her decision especially if she is not using the time wisely meaning she is not using the time for planning. She also mentioned to me the one week I was able to go watch the assembly that I would want to sit in the back as I would want to make a quick exit. This was not exactly the positive or encouraging attitude I had hoped to hear from an art teacher.
Mrs. Holly’s 6th Grade Wheel Class
This class is approached as a privilege to the select group of 6th graders that are allowed to take art, as most middle school students and 6th graders are not allowed to take art, until they get to high school. This class is held in the cafeteria, not an ideal location to create art and is a class with an objective of teaching basic art techniques and ideas. One main issue I noticed in this class as opposed to others is that the TA’s, which are chosen by Mrs. Holly, were disruptive many class periods, either talking to each other or the 6th grade students, while Mrs. Holly was talking. I do not know if she has too many TA’s or if she just chose poor TA’s.
Instructional Design and Lesson Planning
This was the one class I saw Mrs. Holly teach that appeared to have lessons that built on top of each other. So she did appear to sequence at least some of the lessons and concepts to ensure prior knowledge. For example, her project where students had to draw a shape each day and take it from 2D to 3D by using different shading techniques and mediums. Monday the students would draw squares and turn them into cubes using shading techniques of turning the pencil sideways using thick and thin lines to create the idea of shadows and highlights. Then Wednesday the students would draw triangles and turn them into prisms, Friday the students would change circles into spheres. This lesson showed a sequence of lessons and design of instruction for students to achieve mastery.
Of all of Mrs. Holly’s classes that I observed this was the most well managed in terms of behavior. Mrs. Holly utilized a clapping technique to quite the students that consisted of her clapping once, then the student’s clapping twice; followed by silence This technique was coupled with a spreading out of students when they got to loud or disruptive in both cases these were new techniques that I had not seen her do with her two other classes. She utilized a projector to display examples and demonstrations on to the cafeteria wall, thus integrating technology within the lesson through both a tool and communication method.
Instructional Delivery and Facilitation
Her lessons in this class seem to be both engaging and challenging for the students. She may be challenging the students too much as she is utilizing a textbook she got in college. This is not to say that utilizing ideas from this text book is not useful or beneficial to students, but she is taking the lessons pretty much straight out of the book and I am not sure based on the number of questions students asked and the quality of art the 6th graders were producing that the students have a clear understanding of all the connections and concepts being introduced.
Again no formal assessments were given in this class. There was no critique during my time observing this class and the most feedback students got was one day when Mrs. Holly asked her TA’s to pick the best piece in each of their groups (4). Mrs. Holly put them on the projector and explained to the class what made the piece work or not work. This was good feedback but was done using a very select group of students work and did not give other students the opportunity to feel special or successful. As Mrs. Holly would walk around the cafeteria she would make some comments about how students could improve there drawing or piece, but not many, it was more her walking around to confirm students were drawing or participating.
Continuous Professional Improvement
Mrs. Holly does not appear to use any sort of data with this class or in determining instructional needs. These students are not art majors in the school so no collaboration is done between Mrs. Holly and other faculty or even Mr. Jackson as many of the students may not major in art.
Professional Responsibility and Ethical Conduct
Overall, Mrs. Holly appears to want her students to succeed, but does not always construct her classroom time to demonstrate that. Her day seems to start out really unorganized and frazzled, finishing up yesterdays mess or running errands, putting things away, etc. and as her day goes on she seems more put together and involved in what goes on in the classroom. Her morning classes can appear to be completely out of hand at times as students are running around, throwing things in the air, and making a complete mess; additionally the students are not working consistently or intently, hardly ever seem overly engaged in what they are working on, and hardly ever turn in work. This stands in contrast to her 6th graders who seem more engaged, work more intently, turn more work in, etc. I have not determined the exact reason for this, but based on my observations I feel that Mrs. Holly is more open and “real” with her seniors and juniors about her life and lack of organization and as such the students take more advantage of the situation and feel based on students past experiences with this teacher that they can “get away” with more. I also feel that she plays more the teacher role instead of friend role with her 6th graders, she is not as open or “real” with them, gives a lot more instruction, and spends the entire class involved in what the students are doing. A part of me thinks the big difference here is that she teaches her 6th graders in a cafeteria where she doesn’t have the rest of her classroom and materials around her to distract her.
Mr. Jackson is very organized to the point of joking about his OCD behaviors. Is very clear about his expectations and has a great structure to his classes that allow both students and himself to be as productive as possible with the time he is allotted. That being said no teacher is perfect and he has areas that could be improved upon as well.
Mr. Jackson’s Photography class
This class is taught in a computer lab where students sit at their own computer. The class is a small one of ten students that are mostly seniors and juniors.
Instructional Design and Lesson Planning
Mr. Jackson knows what the state adopted standards are; and inputs them into his lesson plans using his lesson plan program that is utilized school wide. I do not know how well he utilizes them; but he definitely knew what they were when I asked him about them and showed me in his lesson plan how he implemented them using the program. His Photography lessons definitely build on each other by incorporating ideas from the students other art classes. He uses ideas and vocabulary that the students have used in other art classes in his photography class in an effort to tie in the knowledge being gained in all art classes. The main problem in using these concepts from the other art classes is that the school allows juniors and seniors to take the photography class who are not art majors at the school. As a result these students do not create as many quality images as the art students nor do they possess the background instruction on basic art concepts such as color, form, composition, repetition, etc. I think he should give them a vocabulary list or at least give a general overview of some of these concepts at the beginning of his first couple classes so that they are not so out of place in a class full of art majors. He does weekly critiques over images students have taken and gives occasional quizzes on the computer utilizing Photoshop techniques.
His classes are well organized, and he manages classroom behavior brilliantly. At the beginning of each class he calls role, tells the students the days game plan and objectives, and then on critique days goes over to his computer to confirm who has turned in the assignment to the folder and who has not and why. On work days, he sits and grades papers; writes lesson plans; works on other items he needs to get done; and gets up walks around to observe the students every couple of minutes and ask if any of them need help. Some of the students ask questions, in which he stops what he is doing to go over and help them. Five to six minutes before the bell he stops the students to tell them what there next assignment is; what they need to be prepared to bring or do in the next class; where they are going from here; and how the assignments are building on each other. This structure allows students to optimize their class time to get work done with the least amount of confusion. The students know what they are supposed to be working on within 5 minutes of the class starting and then he lets them work, but monitors them as he gets stuff done he needs to get done. If it is a critique day within the first 10 minutes he has uploaded all of the images submitted to him into a PowerPoint presentation that he flips through as they discuss what is working and what isn’t working in each image. He asks many open ended questions and encourages students to verbalize choices they made, even if they don’t use the correct terminology, he encourages them to be brave and speak out. Everything in this class is done on a computer using computer programs so technology is definitely utilized in the form of technological communication that allows students to achieve their educational goals.
Instructional Delivery and Facilitation
Students always seem to be engaged in his lessons and they do seem to be challenging enough, as even the best students don’t appear to get bored. As I stated above he encourages the students to verbalize their thoughts. His lessons incorporate the students’ lives as one lesson required the students to take an image every 15 steps they take at a place they walk every single day. So, basically documenting some routine they have everyday. His first assignment required the students to take five images based on open ended prompts without any instruction, just so he could get an idea of where there are gaps in the students knowledge of photography as well as art based themes.
I mention above that every week he holds a critique over the images the students have taken for the assignment that week. He also gives quizzes on the computer where students have to correct an image using Photoshop techniques he has shown them. I feel this critique is a bit subjective as who decides what makes an image “correct” but he grades them over how well they utilize techniques shown, he does not grade them over how they decide to correct the image. For example the image needs to be cropped but there are a few ways to crop the image to make it more successful then it currently is, the students do not have to crop the image the same way Mr. Jackson envisions they just have to crop it to make it more interesting. I might add another step to this quiz, which would involve having the students produce a document in word explaining why they feel the image, is more successful with the way they cropped it. Mr. Jackson gives back grades almost weekly in his class and progress reports about every 3 weeks.
Continuous Professional Improvement
Mr. Jackson does not have a degree in art, but has always loved art, and photography has been a hobby of his for years. He educated himself on photography by going to workshops, reading books, and experimenting on his own time. The first day I observed his photography class he said he wanted to use me and talk to me about my experiences with photography to help him better facilitate his class. He asked me tons of questions about my undergrad course work in photography, since I have a degree in studio art, with an emphasis in photography. I told him many of the assignments my professors gave me and he took notes. I also showed him images of my final piece that went with the assignments. I felt he was very interested in learning from me as I was learning from him. He was also being quite honest with himself explaining to me and his students that he doesn’t know everything and that he is still learning; he is using me as a resource as his students should during my time there. He does not collaborate with Mrs. Holly enough in my opinion as both art teachers require the students to turn in photographs of their finish work for a grade; he is the one with photography knowledge; yet the students are not given a formal class on how to document their work or use a camera. I think they should perhaps combine their classes a few periods or days to teach a basic documentation class so students can document their work more successfully. This is just one example of how his collaborating with Mrs. Holly in terms of his photography class could be beneficial to both the teachers and the students.
Professional Responsibility and Ethical Conduct
Mr. Jackson’s Drawing and Painting 1 Class
This is the first class that high school art majors have. The class consists of mostly ninth graders with a few 10th graders. The students do mostly drawing from what I observed and mostly draw still lives. I did not observe as many of these classes as I did his photography class.
Instructional Design and Lesson Planning
Again Mr. Jackson utilizes his school wide computer program to incorporate state-adopted standards into his lesson plans. His lessons definitely build upon each other in this class, as one day their assignment was to draw in their sketchbooks 1pt. perspective drawings of a place they could see, either at home, from a picture, etc. The next class the students were turning this assignment in and working on 2 pt. perspectives, but this time the image had to be from their imagination; and they had to add shading into the drawing, as shape and form and learning how to shade was covered in their last lesson. He even mentions the connection when explaining the assignment at the beginning of the class, saying, “In this perspective drawing I want to see some shading giving the piece some dimension. Remember how we worked on shading those different shapes and forms, now your going to bring that skill into this piece, these assignments all build on each other. Requiring this requires students to demonstrate a variety of skills and competencies.”
Again, Mr. Jackson structures this class similar to the way he structures all his other classes, he calls roll when the students come in; tells the students about the days objectives or goals; where they are going from there; and what they need to turn in today. He then sits down with his laptop open and grades their sketchbooks one at a time as he calls the students up. He gives the students feedback, a grade, and then calls the next student up. This method allows all students to get individualized one on one feedback, while also allowing for Mr. Jackson to input his grades into his grade book in real time, thus everyone’s time in being used wisely. When students get to loud he tells them that he will dictate when an assignment is due based on how well they utilize there time, if they have time to talk they can turn the piece in sooner, however, if he allows them to turn a piece in later than it better knock his socks off. He uses humor to control his classroom sometimes; such as when he told three girls that kept giggling about the objects they brought in to draw that he didn’t want to have to take their toys away. The girls got the point and stopped. If the students are talking too much while he is taking roll or trying to explain the day’s activities he will stand there and say I’ll wait.
Instructional Delivery and Facilitation
His lessons in this class are challenging but not necessarily engaging for the students. He asks many open-ended questions as he demonstrates 2pt and 3pt perspective and gives students ample time to verbalize there understanding of particular concepts. When students ask when a project is due he responds with when do you think it should be due? Can you finish it honestly and have it done well by this day? He takes into account their opinion and feedback when making such decisions.
In this class he gave a self-assessment to the students and told them he would grade them on how thoughtfully they filled out the assessment, not on what grade they chose to give themselves in the end but on the critical and thoughtful comments they made note of. He uses well designed rubrics for each project where he rates the given objective 1-4 4 being an A, 3 being a B, 2 being a C, and 1 being failing. He makes note of the lowest cumulative scores on objectives so he knows what areas he needs to focus more on in his class instruction. He gives out progress reports and grades weekly, so students and parents can monitor their progress.
Continuous Professional Improvement
Professional Responsibility and Ethical Conduct
Every week the students are required to perform at this school. So every Wednesday the classes are shorter and at 2pm the students go to the auditorium along with all of the teachers to watch and support their students. One of the biggest things I noticed about Mr. Jackson is that he goes to every performance every Wed. He also mentioned to me one day how hard the student’s work for these performances and how nerve-racking it is for them at times. So he likes going to show his support and encourages students to support fellow students no matter the age.
Mr. Jackson’s 2D/3D Art Class
This class is mostly freshman and sophomores who are art majors at the school. Although the class name is 2D and 3D art, in my time watching the class I never saw 3D art done. During one class he mentioned to me that he wasn’t comfortable teaching 3D art such as sculpture and ceramics because of how long it had been since he had done any of that type of art himself. I think 3D art is important and valuable and as such should be taught. I think he should educate himself or go to a workshop to figure out how to incorporate more 3D art into this class. The last class I observed he asked me to give a lecture on basic Ceramic ideas because of my ceramic background (12 hours in undergrad of ceramics classes). This was good in that he was using me as a resource and showing that he was making an attempt to incorporate his student’s interests into the class. Mr. Jackson has the exact same students in this class as his class right before it drawing/painting 1.
Because Mr. Jackson’s drawing/painting 1 class is right before this class and the same students are in both classes, there is usually not a clean up period after his drawing/painting class. The students take a 5 minute break to run to the bathroom one at a time; stand up or stretch; and put away drawing/painting work to pull out 2D/3D work. There is a very smooth and definite transition between the two classes helping to keep the structure and management of the classroom productive and beneficial for all involved. Because of this all of the FEAPS above apply to this class as well, because even though there is a transition between the two classes, it is smooth and structurally not very different from his painting/drawing 1 class.
Overall, Mr. Jackson is organized, and manages his classes very well. He does not have many disciplinary issues because as he stated when students come into his classroom they know what is expected; and they know that they will be learning or working on for the time period they are in his class and students like that structure. He has a great-organized system for assessment and critiques and a great open honest communication with his students. His biggest weakness comes in not having a degree in art and therefore not fully instructing what the class title entails the class will teach.
Having observed both of these teachers it is hard not to compare and contrast the two, especially because of their drastically different styles. I will say that I think the two teachers work well together and communicate often; however I also feel that the teachers could be more productive in their communication and collaboration. This greater communication and collaboration could serve to create an environment where there classes fit more seamlessly together and build upon each other more successfully. I also feel that both teachers could benefit from collaborating with other faculty and core teachers to come up with better-integrated lessons. I think both teachers have knowledge and beneficial qualities to education and as with everyone they both have areas of weakness. The best thing about both teachers is that they both are honest with themselves about areas they are lacking in when they see it and they are both trying to improve upon those weaknesses.