Friday, November 8, 2013

Informal Interview: Formative Assessment tool and how I made a kindergartner cry.

If you want to know about a student's artwork, just ask them!  Asking about their art in general terms will often illicit real and thoughtful responses. 

I learned early in my career that a simple, "tell me about your picture" is a very powerful conversation starter. If it is obviously a portrait, or landscape, the artist will start describing colors they used, share a story about the image, or even just blatantly describe their process.  If you have no idea what is going on in the child's art, a "tell me about your picture" will give you the answer.  

It can be damaging to ask specifics, or even comment on what you think is going on in a young child's art.   "I like that picture of the cow!" could bring a kindergartner tears.  That wasn't a cow, it was a killer whale, and you just pointed out what a terrible terrible artist that 5 year old is. (This happened to me while I was student teaching.  A powerful lesson for me.)

Informal interviews can also be used as a formative assessment.  It sounds like small talk, but the briefest of answers can clue you in to what the students have learned.

During studio time, I walk around with a clipboard and a stack of the Informal Interview forms.  I jot down the child's name and occasionally jot down specifics of their answers as they talk.  They do not mind when I start writing - actually - they kind of like it.  I keep the stack of interview forms so I have a record of who I'm keeping tabs on, and who might not be getting enough personal attention.

No comments:

Post a Comment