That inspired her. She had to learn techniques to get the sky and clouds just the way she wanted. I was
able to provide just-in-time instruction so she could go forward. She’s so visually aware—she’ll just take
my hand and point, show me something she wants to learn to do. And now her English is coming right
along, too. She has such a positive attitude toward learning.
How did you assess this project?
KF: Well, I have to grade! I can’t give up 12 class periods just for fun. It occurred to me early on that some
students had aimed really high. They might not have polished studio projects ready by the end, but they’ve
taken a risk to try something big. I don’t want to penalize them for risk taking. Normally, I grade a project
60 percent on the final product and 40 percent on their reflection and investigation—the process. I was
honest with the class and told them I had this dilemma about how to grade.
I explained that some students are just flying on the reflection and process part, but the studio work is
not coming out how they want yet. Others have fabulous products, but don’t like to reflect on their
process. I suggested flipping the usual formula, and putting more emphasis on process and reflection.
Well, when I said that, some students said, ‘Yay!’ and others said ‘Oh, no.’ So I asked them why, and then
told them I’d need to go away and think about it.
The solution I came up with is a sliding scale. I’ve shared the rubric for grading, and it’s up to each student
to slide the percentages around. How much shall we emphasize your product in grading? How much your
process? Each student sets the parameters. That has become something else for them to think about, and
I think it’s making assessment more valuable. The goal is for everyone to be successful, and to think about
what they’ve set out to accomplish.
What have you noticed about motivation in this project?
KF: Many students have worked harder than they have on any art project before. Some are taking work
home and continuing to work on it there. One girl started with an idea of a large digital portrait that she
would manipulate with type. She began with one family member, but as she’s learning more about
technique, she’s going on to produce portraits of her entire family. And each one’s getting better.
What will you take away from this project into future art assignments?
KF: Everyone’s curious about something, aren’t they? I’ve seen such a diversity of projects. I admit, that’s
been a little scary for me as a teacher. I’ve had students attempting techniques I know nothing about,
especially when it comes to digital tools. But then I get to say, how did you do that? Can you teach me? I
think that’s a good thing for us all.