Monday, March 11, 2013

Critiquing in the Elementary School Art Classroom

Too often students are not taught how to look at art, know its purpose, see the elements and principles, and how to talk about art.  Getting the students especially in the elementary school classroom to do this is like pulling teeth. But why not make it fun? My students are learning how to do these things through an art critique.  Yes, I know they are only in elementary school, but it is never too early to understand why something looks nice.

Each student is given 3 critique cards. These are used like casting votes for pieces.
       - Frame: The piece they would put in a museum.
       - House: The piece they would put in their house.
       - Money:  The piece they would sell.

To see slideshow and full details go to : Critique slideshow.

Once votes have been cast, a class discussion is started.  The kids have so much fun with this.  It is different from the normal art class they are used to.  Check out my lesson (**link to come) and slideshow for full details.  I modified this idea from something a professor in college taught me.  Honestly, at the time I thought it was a dumb idea, but after talking with the kids and spending more time with them, I am realizing how genius it really is.

Tell me what you think!  Would you change anything?


  1. I'm an itinerant K-12 art teacher. I do this activity with my high school kids, but am going to try it with my younger kids this year. It is such an easy activity and engages the students in debate and discussion. It sets the older kids up for our unit on art criticism by helping them make, share, and defend judgments about art. Doing it verbally first makes the transition to writing smoother.

    I also use an activity with my K-5's where the students get 3 laminated "likes" (the thumbs up symbol from Facebook) to give out to their favorite peer artworks at the end of a project. They give out 3 Likes with their initials on the back and have to be prepared to explain what they liked about their classmate's artwork. It has been an excellent way for my kids to share and appreciate each other's artwork. It is a great way to discuss the qualities that are demonstrated by the art receiving the most likes, too. The level of craftsmanship goes up in anticipation of being "Liked".

  2. Love the idea, and I have already made laminated cards to use next week! However, I can't get the critique slideshow to work??

  3. Do you still have this available? I think this is a wonderful idea and would love to see your slideshow.

    Please feel free to email me. Thank you!

  4. I love this idea. I would like to see the PowerPoint as well to see how you explained it.

  5. I agree! I would love to see the powerpoint if you still have it!!