Presentation (Powerpoint) File
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This Powerpoint goes along with my "Teaching Critiquing" papers which are also for sale in my store.
I was having real trouble getting through to some of my students about the concept of balance. No matter how I worded it, some didn't follow. No matter the examples given, some didn't follow. I made this in response to break down just how easy it really is. Students just make it much harder than it has to be sometimes. I designed this lesson/activity to give students a simple process to follow each time they form a critiquing judgment. This lesson is built on taking hard concepts and putting them into an easy format which any student can use!
I start the first few slides by discussing the difference between giving a simple opinion and giving an educated critique. I emphasize that immature thinkers give opinions without being able to explain them. Educated thinkers state their opinion and back up their claim by using art vocabulary and concepts to prove the opinion to be correct. To make it as simple for my students as possible, I break critique statements down into 3 parts: The subject, claim, and proof. Using this format to form a critique will make it much easier for your students to put into words what they are struggling to say. I discuss and show examples of the process. The Subject is either an element of art or principle of design. The Claim is what you're saying about the element or principle; what is it doing within the art. The Proof is the description of parts of the artwork to back up the claim.
I give a few examples of what to look for when forming a critique statement before jumping into using the 3 part formula. I always tell my students to keep it basic and simply look for the variety (variety in value, texture, shapes, etc.) Either there is variety and it helps the artwork or there is not variety and it could be a weakness. Using the 3 part method draws attention to those strengths and weaknesses.
When I have my students look for variety I explain it and show multiple examples to make the concept clear. Variety is good but it needs to be balanced. I describe balance in several ways using multiple example artworks as references. I first talk about balance as a team of players. You need a main focus (star player), competing visuals (good players), mild visuals (subs), and subtle or muted visuals (bench warmers). I describe balance as a song: some things loud and dominant but also softer smaller things that help the overall sound. Balance is like baking! I describe and show the ingredients of a cake right beside an abstract painting. It shows visual balance just like the ingredients of the chocolate cake. (lots of flour = the teal in painting, Browns = sugar, light greens = baking soda, etc.) I love this visual! :)
Next I use the method one step at a time to talk about 2 example artworks (showing the building process and how to easily use the method. Once students are familiar with constructing the critique statements I play a little gambling game with them. They do not know which artworks they are selecting but I tell them to pick 6 numbers ranging from 1 to 12. They will then see the artworks one at a time. Using the 3 part method, they will form 2 critique statements per number they selected. The 12 artworks include paintings, non objective, mixed media, sculpture, and tattoos. They are not allowed to switch artworks once they have selected their numbers (this makes each artwork as a big reveal students anticipate and pay closer attention to see. That's the fun part. They don't know what they are picking when they choose their numbers. They may love it or they may hate it but either way they must use their vocabulary to explain it! :)