Friday, September 20, 2013

Close Read Experience

Hi, just wanted to share experiences with CR so far.

After I showed them the powerpoint on CR strategy (I taught the steps then we practiced it as a group), I had students practice on their own looking at an image I provided. I included some artist background with the image to help with the context step. Later I have students do their own research regarding the artist.

They looked at an Elizabeth Catlett image and used a form I made (both uploaded to blog).
I had them try this without any help. I was interested to see how they did on their own.
Students who are used to doing critical thinking in other classes did great (as expected). The IB students handled it like pros. They learned the strategy and were able to apply their usual critical thinking skills to analyze the artwork very well. I found their responses to be very enlightening. As soon as I get a chance, I will upload a few examples.

Then there were students who were interested, learned from me, but did not do this often in other classes or on own. They did "ok". They certainly attempted to think deeply and write about their analysis and understanding. I know with a bit of guidance they will easily reach a higher level of thinking. (I'll also upload a couple examples of these)

Lastly, are the students who struggled with the process. They did not read or really answer the prompts given. They wrote the most basic answer they thought I wanted without really thinking about it. Sometimes they didn't answer at all. Perhaps did not listen or understand when I taught the process by example. These students all told me that they have not had experience in other classes doing this type of work and were frustrated at the level of focus I was asking of them. I can see they will need the most help and guidance learning to think and respond critically. Most of them were freshmen and sophomores. (also provide some ex)

So, I now want to think about the best way to facilitate improvement. Obviously repetition. I'm thinking of arranging heterogenous groups, with a student leader (higher level), a couple of mid-level students, and a couple struggling. If they work together on a few CR, perhaps peer teaching will make a difference.

What do you all think?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Valerie,

    Thank you for sharing your Close Read exemplars. Your handout looks much closer to a 4-step art criticism process, and it may help transition our Art I students into the streamlined format that our elective and AP/IB students use (I'll put one up asap).

    I have approached art criticism (Close Read and other methods) much the same way that you are. It involves a lot of "practice" and some "follow the leader" until younger/beginner students are comfortable going it alone. I always try to situate my students in mixed groups so that stronger students can guide weaker ones, and the students in between either work toward the higher level and/or help the ones having more difficulty with the process. When learning and practicing the process I will often have all students (Art I and elective) do "small group" critiques/close reads to get everybody comfortable with the steps (or review them in the case of elective students) as it makes the process a lot less intimidating when they are learning how to look at, discuss and critique artworks.