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In the middle school art room, students are engaged in hands-on activities that challenge them. My objective is to prepare them to face the academic and life challenges that will occur later on in life. I encourage students to inquire about what is being taught and why they are learning it. I encourage them to examine what they have done and what can be improved. By engaging in discussions and critiques, students share their views on various topics which are not always subject related.
I do not claim to know everything; and when a student asks me something I do not know the answer to, I will be honest and say that I do not know. But, I will find out. This shows the students that what they are interested in is important, that I care enough to take time for them, and that I take them seriously.
By being nonjudgmental and respecting my students opinions, I gain mutual respect from them. I value discussion and response and build a classroom environment that makes all students who are involved feel like they are special and unique. Patience, trust, and humor allow these students to feel safe and comfortable in their surroundings.
It is obvious that art abilities vary from person to person. Individual expression is key to being a great artist. Written work, hands on projects, art appreciation, oral critiques, etc. allow for differentiated instruction and can allow the student to excel in his or her favorite area. Following basic directions and making projects "his/her own" allows for individuality and success in the subject area. The UBD (Understanding by Design) art lessons that are taught at the middle school encompass all subject areas to some degree making the art room a multicultural, multidisciplinary environment for learning.
A+ =100, A=96, A-=92, B+=89, B=86, B-=82, C+=79, C=76, C-=72, D+=69, D=66, D-=62, F-below 60
At the start of each marking period, I explain to the students in all art classes, that some may work faster than others on their individual projects, and I allow for that. While "suggested" due dates are posted for each project assigned, projects may be handed in until the last day of the marking period. Any project which a student chooses to improve upon can also be "re-graded" up until the last day of the marking period as well. There is no late penalty for handing in a project past ONE WEEK past the suggested due date. Suggested due dates are meant to keep the students on track so they do not fall behind. It offers independence and a chance for the students to exercise responsibility and accountability. I review which projects are still outstanding on a weekly basis and offer reminders to the students as well. Project grades are reduced by 3-4 points beginning a week after the suggested due date. For example, if a student earns an A for a project and it is one week late, he/she will receive full credit. If it is 2 weeks late, the grade will drop to an A-. Three weeks late, the grade drops to a B+, and so on. Students may work on past due projects during their lunch period, at home, or Monday afternoons after school until 3:45 P.M. in the art room.
Projects not handed in are listed as "I" (incomplete) in Genesis, and are calculated as zero until the project is handed in and the grade is posted. Projects listed as "EX" (excused) are projects a student is NOT required to complete due to extenuating circumstances. Excused grades are not calculated in the student's average. Late projects will receive full credit once they are completed. Grade scores will drop weekly as described above. Absolutely NO projects are accepted after the completion of the marking period.
Creativity takes courage. - Henri Matisse
Have no fear of perfection, you'll never reach it. - Salvador Dali
Effort is everything. - Nina Anderson