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Monthly Mentor Group Discussion


Monthly Mentor Group Discussion

Each month, a new mentor will post a topic for discussion. This is way to share ideas, thoughts, tips, and insights online.

Members: 35
Latest Activity: Aug 16, 2013

March's Monthly Mentor - Flowerree W. Galetovic McDonough

As we look to changes in taking place across the nation, I would like to start a discussion about the forms of assessment used in your classrooms. What are your formative, summative, informal, and formal measurements of student growth? How are student portfolio’s used in your classroom and what role do they play in assessment?

In Tennessee, there is a student portfolio assessment system that is in its first year. Fine Arts educators finally have the opportunity of being evaluated on their students' growth rather than the total school's test scores in other subjects.

To learn more about the this system use this link that provides the current TDOE Fine Arts Growth Measures System Teacher’s Guide. Additional information can be found at

What are you/your system using using? 

What is your opinion about Tennessee's system? 

Comment Wall


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Comment by Donald P. Peters on May 10, 2013 at 9:59pm

?? was there not a mentor for April or May? or am I just not seeing something right?

Comment by Lynn A. Felts on January 22, 2013 at 1:28pm

The idea to save past discussions just came up a few months ago and by then, the past discussions had not be saved.  Copy and save from this point forward. thanks, Lynn

Comment by Beth Walldorf on January 22, 2013 at 9:08am

Is there a way to access past monthly mentor discussions? This thread only goes back to August. Thanks!

Comment by Lynn A. Felts on January 11, 2013 at 5:39pm

Lorinne, your discussion is a timely one and great!!!!!!!!!  Frank love the comments and inclusion of the six-trait writing rubric!!!!!  Excellent work.  We all need to include more of this in our instruction.

We are beginning to track projects and performances in the fine art departments using student phones from start to finish.  It is exciting!!!!!  The students are excited.  They are emailing them to me and we are assessing visually.  I am going to make power points.  It is fun!!!  Lynn 

Comment by Elizabeth Burkhauser on January 11, 2013 at 2:17pm

Please check the student blog for the Interdependence Hexagon Project.  there you will find an opportunity for your students to connect their art and writing to other students! Hexagon Project

This may give students extra motivation to explain their work - even work in progress....We would like to see it used by more teachers and students - please check and send us feedback!

Comment by Frank Juarez on January 11, 2013 at 1:14pm

Student writing is a difficult process, however, I have discovered by breaking down a writing assignment and slowly introducing it throughout the semester has given students the realization that they can write effectively if the details lead to the final produce - a paper. 

For example, I have students address some basic questions such as the name of a unit and what concepts they were introduced to. Followed by listing and defining vocabulary applied to their project. Students also address any pre-sketchbook assignments and how it lead to the project. 

Finally, they address the process or processes used to create the art and comment on the assessment and criteria.  All of this results in a minimum one-page essay, which is scored against the Six-Trait Writing Rubric. 

Comment by Donald P. Peters on October 17, 2012 at 9:22am

I do not teach AP, but I find almost all art students struggle with this when given choice. So many of them just want to be told what to do or just take someone's idea rather than have to think for themselves. I feel that it is important for us as artistic guides to give students as many opportunities to struggle with these choices as possible so that they can grow as artists.

With enough time and effort anyone can learn the skills of art, but it also takes practice to learn to be able to communicate ideas and intent in a way that speaks to the viewer. Students don't like this aspect as much because there is no right answer and it's difficult to come up with ideas that are uniquely your own.

Comment by Wanda-Ann Kinnaman on October 6, 2012 at 3:35pm

A number of years ago after watching students get frustrated with their concentrations as they grew weary of their topics or felt they had exhausted the potential growth of their concentrations I explored and discussed with the students the option of not waiting until all the breadths were completed before beginning to explore and experiment with the possibilities for their concentrations. Now, at the beginning of the year, we complete enough breadth pieces to explore some new techniques, stretch our abilities and creativity and then break into the beginning of concentration options. The students have embraced this method as it has made the concentration less intensive and by the intermingling of the two areas, breadth and concentration; it allows them to explore some new ideas and techniques within their concentration. We have continued with this formula for a number of years as it has been successful for all and it often gives the student time to really reflect back on their work and move in new directions.
It does not however solve the issue of what the concentration will be. Students need to choose concentrations that they can connect with and ones that have personal meaning along with themes that can grow but yet still remain a concentration thus begins the daunting task for them as they either have too many ideas or too few. We look at the great examples of high scoring AP students and discuss these concentrations and then we look at students they know who have gone through their same program to help them realize that this is not outside of their reach as they have local connections. We begin by sharing their likes, dislikes, and experiences together as student and teacher and as a group. The years of doing this has taught me that they learn best from each other as they put forth their ideas to their peers who will challenge them on how they are going to move forward. They often decide today and by the tomorrow have rethought and are moving in another direction. Sometimes it takes the completion of a work for them to realize this is not the direction in which to move into as they explore the options that will go with this commitment. As they proceed I facilitate options they may want to explore and areas they may want to avoid. We occasionally still have the problem of the concentration that was perhaps too narrow or too broad to begin with but sometimes they just have to figure that out on their own and often do before it becomes too late. 

Comment by Donald P. Peters on September 27, 2012 at 10:25am

Off topic: I received notice that we could register for national conference, but all I see listed are paid workshops. Anyone know when we will get the list of non-paid workshop offerings? Want to see all my options before registering for a paid workshop...

Comment by Debi West on September 24, 2012 at 7:01pm

@Donald - I have always found that in educating the parents, you are empowering the "true, authentic decision makers".  I invite legislators and VIPS into the art room, but I also invite the parents in, to see the process involved in the art making - that is often the key!  And when our kids can teach, it mean they have mastered it.  It's about getting better - and reminding EVERYONE that the arts are a huge part of our job force, 87% is arts-based / creative thinking based - that is a big number and one that will perhaps entice the school boards, the administrators, and the parents to want better, richer more rigorous art education programs for ALL of our children.  It should never be a privledge for a few, it should be the right of every learner.  Hope this helps a bit!


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