Friday, July 15, 2011

C4T #4

        My first comment was on Sheamus Burns' blog post Some Tensions in Art Education, Including Grades and Subjectivity.  In this blog post, Mr. Burns talked about the difficulty of giving his art students grades on the pieces they created.  He feels it is more important that his students think creatively than the technical aspects of art (such as shading, perspective, and proportion).  The problem with this is, the school at which he works places more importance on the technical aspects so he has a tough time giving students grades when he would rather not have to give them a grade at all.  He feels that when he gives a student a grade, that limits their thinking.  Towards the end of his post, he gave an example of how he grades by describing an e-mail response he sent to a student who had e-mailed him about a B+ he had received on his last piece of work.  Here, Mr. Burns went into acute detail in his reply e-mail to the student.  He told him how he placed much importance on creative thinking and that this student's piece of work had only reached a "good" level and not an "outstanding" level.  Mr. Burns ended his post by asking readers, "Does anyone have ideas?"  In my comment, I told him how I was studying to be a history teacher but had highly considered becoming an art teacher instead.  I said that I had done a lot of painting myself and that I have the technical aspects of painting down but I sometimes struggle with the creative aspect of it.  I am a realistic painter    using photographs for reference.  I told him this because I can understand why he has difficulty with grading students in these two ways because one may have the best drawing skills a person could have, but without creativity, these drawings they produce would be nothing more than a photograph done in pencil.  I had never thought about the difficulties of grading pieces of work by art students before I read his post.  I told him that I thought he was doing an excellent job in the way he was grading now even though art is a difficult subject matter to grade.
        The second comment I left on Sheamus Burns' blog was on his blog post Project-Based Learning Made Easy.  This post was actually a reference from an article on  The post tells readers to go to Envision Schools to pick up a few tips for teachers to improve their current curriculum to make it more project-based.  Here is a good paragraph I found on the Envision Schools website which explains more in depth about project-based learning:
 "At Envision Schools, graduation means that a student has not only met rigorous academic standards, but also that he or she has demonstrated a breadth of leadership and cognitive skills, also known as “deeper learning” skills. To that end, we have developed a system of student assessment based on performance — what we call “performance assessment” — that emphasizes a student’s deep understanding and growing mastery of an academic disciplineMore than standardized tests of content knowledge, performance assessments are able to measure how students think about what they’ve learned. These assessments require students to employ their knowledge in the service of creating and producing something with real-world application."
  This seems like the kind of approach Dr. Strange wants us to have in EDM 310.  In my comment, I told Mr. Burns how I thought it would be especially relevant to him that grading be project-based because he was an art teacher.  He had already discussed in previous blogs that he hated that he had to give people grades.  I mentioned that it would be great if all assessments of learning could one day be project or performance based.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it amazing that you got this assignment for C4T! I am so surprised! :)

    Excellent. You are beginning to get the bigger picture I can tell. Usually it takes much longer. But then, I think, we never really get it! At least I haven't. I am still trying to figure it all out!