Art // Tracking Student Work in the Art Room

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Crew leaders help students track their progress in core subject areas such as math and ELA, allowing students to reflect on their own abilities and track their progress and growth in an area, while also providing teacher perspective and feedback.

Assessment in the art room has not been my strong suit thus far. While I often assess from  my own observations and have students offer feedback to one another, I have struggled to find meaningful ways for students to self-assess and measure their own progress over the course of a unit.

I decided to try tracking in the art room with a weaving unity I designed for first grade. Knowing that I wanted students to be able to measure their growth, I would need to provide a gradual progression of skills under the umbrella of weaving. Yardsticks tell us that first graders are work-oriented at this point in their development. They are less concerned with perfecting the outcome of their work and more focused on the process (How ideal! If only things could always be this way.) This provides a great opportunity for creating units in the art room that focus on a single skill, as students are less likely to tire from repeating the same techniques over the course of several projects. No one ever complained when I announced that we would be embarking on *another* weaving piece.

Our unit unfolded like this:

  • Learning the basics with paper weaving.
  • Preparing for loom-weaving with radial weaving.
  • Creating a small loom-woven piece of wearable art.
  • Using needle and thread to create basic embroidery stitches.

At some point along the way, students were also taught how to finger knit. Little did I know how popular this would become and doesn’t seem to be losing steam, as students are frequently asking for yarn, or bringing in pieces they’ve made at home :)

Overall, the goal was for students to master the “under/over” weaving technique that ensures fibers are binding together in such a way that they won’t come undone from one another. This is one of my favorite media to teach, and I was happy to find that students seemed to enjoy it as much as I did! Tracking student progress through this unit helped me see how much students truly progressed over the course of the projects, some tremendously!