Nick Moses
Module 5.2.2
January 11, 20018

When I was a graduate student in art school, we had group critiques every Monday morning. All art students from each discipline were involved (painting, sculpture, ceramics, and undergraduate art majors). No one ever knew if it would be their turn or not, and those who were chosen were chosen seemingly at random. These group critiques went on for three hours, so many of us had the opportunity to show our work each week, and the critiques could be informative, useless, demeaning, or all of the above. One needs to develop thick skin in order to survive a severe critique and continue working.

As a beginner art student, though, the critiques were simply informative. They would tell me exactly what I needed to improve, and I never felt awful afterwards. In these cases, my fellow students tended not to be cruel, but rather, they looked for things that I was doing that directly corresponded to areas where they felt that they needed improvement. Each professor that I had told us that students at this level, during critiques, tend to do that. In this way, the critiques were an excellent formative assessment, not just for the student being critiqued, but for the ones critiquing as well.

Throughout the duration of my art education, in addition to the two types of group critiques that I had, I met with each professor once a week for a one-on-one critique. These were the most informative of all of the critiques. It was more of a conversation than anything else. The feedback which I received was excellent, whether it was positive or negative. I was shown examples that were helpful, recommended artists to view, and given suggestions of material to read. This is the type of formative assessment that I want to give to my students.

Showing your work in front of the entire class can be daunting, especially for young people, so I propose, for formative assessments, to speak with each student individually, and give them feedback on their completed work. A one-on-one critique will allow me to explain to each student what they are doing right, where they need to improve, and what they can do to improve. This will also give me the opportunity to reexplain information to them that they did not understand or have not yet incorporated in their work, and it will also give them new information that they can use to revise their work. This formative assessment will take place several times throughout the term so that I can periodically check in with each student and understand where they are in the learning process.

In addition to periodic individual critiques, students will be required to have a sketchbook that they will turn in to me each Friday. They will be required to have at least five new sketches or drawings per week. If they have less than five, they will have to make it up the following week. If they have more than five, they will receive extra credit. This will give me another opportunity to check in with the students and understand who is working and who is not, and also see how they are advancing with the subject matter that I am teaching to them.

Group critiques are also a good assessment tool that I would like to incorporate, but not as a formative assessment. At first, I will do it in smaller groups, so that the students have the opportunity to adjust, learn how to discuss someone else’s work, and feel comfortable enough to be honest and give proper feedback. The one-on-one critiques will continue on a weekly basis, so that the feedback that I give to the students will be an example of how they should give feedback to their peers.

Feedback will lead to revisions. The student will be able to take the feedback that they were given and use it to improve their future work, and revise the work that they have already done. In addition to hearing from other students and the teacher about their work, students will need to develop the ability to discuss their own work and understand what they are doing correctly and what they are missing. This will be used as a summative assessment. Toward the end of the term, students will chose two or three of their completed assignments and present them to the class. The presentation will be short, five to ten minutes in length, and students will be given a checklist in advance so that they know what they will need to address. The checklist will be as follows:

A. Where the work comes from (in-class assignment or independent work)
B. Assignment objective (which unit or lesson)
C. Tools and material used (oil, canvas, paper, brushes)
D. Use of art vocabulary
E. Strengths (what the student believes they accomplished well)
F. Weaknesses (what they feel that they need to improve)
G. Problems & concerns (what they feel they cannot do)
H. Artists that they are looking at (if applicable to the presentation)

The rest of the class will be required to give feedback to at least two of their peers. This feedback could come as a comment after a presentation, or during the subsequent class discussion.

This summative assessment will allow me to see if the students have learned what I intended for them to learn, and will serve as their final for the term. I am certain that there will be more than one student in the class who is unwilling to stand up and present their work to their peers. In this case, I will have a plan B. Students who are absolutely petrified to present will be asked to write a paper, using the same checklist above, to discuss their work. If all of the students in the class feel this way, then plan B becomes plan A, and a class critique will have to take place in order for the students to be able to give each other feedback. Giving feedback to their peers will be an important component of the summative assessment because it will show me that they understood the objective of the assignment and are able to use the art specific vocabulary that they have learned throughout the term.

Art is an academic field, but I do not want my young students to feel that it is only academic, and that there is no fun involved at all. Some students approach art as an escape from the rigors of academia, others want to learn how to do it, and some will just take it as an elective or requirement with no intention of ever doing it again. Whatever the reason is for them being in the class, it is my intention to teach them, and to make sure that they understand what it is that I am teaching.

Andrade, H. (2016). About Formative Assessment. Retrieved from

Hilliard, P. (2015, December 7). Performance-Based Assessment: Reviewing the Basics. Retrieved from

What is the Difference Between a Formative and Summative Assessment. (2016). Retrieved from

What is Performance Based Assessment? (2008). Retrieved from

Nick Moses
Module 5.1 Reflection

These assignments, based on unpacking standards and backwards mapping, have taught me so much. After having read through the visual arts standards from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education for the District of Columbia, I was able to create a unit plan based on one of the strands in the standard that I had chosen.

Each standard that I read through involved many subtopics, called strands. The strands are the units of study involved with each standard. I found the academic criteria for each standard to be quite high, and I wondered exactly how it would be possible to achieve all of these goals. This is where backwards mapping is most valuable. Knowing what the outcome should be enables teachers to intricately plan lessons so that the learning goals in the standards can be achieved.

Backwards mapping also helps to identify exactly what proficiencies the students should be able to achieve during a unit of study. For example, in my lesson plan developed for assignment two, one of the goals was to have students be able to mix colors and understand the difference in hues between two or more types of the same color family. If they mix one type of red with one type of yellow, and then repeat this process several times with different reds and yellows, they will begin to understand what those colors will do when mixed with another color. They will be able to identify the red and the yellow that will make the color orange of an orange (fruit). They will also know that that same orange will not work for the orange of a pumpkin.

Living in Washington, DC, where I plan to teach, offers me a plethora of learning experiences to give my students to assist them in developing the knowledge and skills that they need to succeed. We have many world-class museums that are free to the public. Basing lesson plans around what is currently exhibited, or what is in the permanent collection, will help make those lesson plans more relevant to the students. The content of the museums is not relegated to typical European and American artists, but rather, there is a museum dedicated to women in the arts, African art, Asian art, contemporary, ancient, etc. With so much diversity, students will be able to learn that art has always been around, and done by almost every culture that has existed. This will enable to me to provide specific learning experiences for the students in order for them to better understand the subject matter that I am teaching at the moment.

The unit plan that I developed based on the DC standards was something that I had tried before, albeit unsuccessfully. When I was an art instructor at George Washington University, I attempted the same lesson plan with a painting class. Compared to what I developed for my Teach-Now course, my original plan was awful. There was no backwards mapping, and I do not believe that I had an end goal in sight. I had no standard with which to work. It was more of me thinking that I had a great idea for a lesson, and I desperately wanted to try it. So I did. The result was a classroom full off bored faces. My lecture was not interesting to the students, and the application of what I tried to teach them was uninspired. I did not continue with that lesson, and went on to another topic.

That was not the only time that that happened. Looking back now, I realize that I had zero ability to keep all of my students interested. Knowing what I know now, I can see the errors that I made. What is interesting about this is that at that time, I did not know that I was doing it all wrong; I simply thought that I was not very good at teaching. In fact, I was boring myself, along with the students. It was as if my philosophy toward teaching was something like: “I know how to do something, so now I will show you how to do it, and then you will do it.” That seemed logical to me, because I was unaware that there was so much more involved in developing lesson plans, and keeping students engaged and interested.

Now that I know how to unpack a standard, and map backwards, coming up with unit plans will not be as difficult as I once thought it to be. I do not believe that it will be easy now, just easier. Providing proper assessments in order to identify student proficiencies will be a challenge, since I have not done this previously. One thing that I need to come to terms with is that I will make lots of mistakes during my first year, or years, of teaching. My hope is that these mistakes are ones that I am capable of learning from, and not errors that I will continue to repeat.

Art: Dance, Drama, Music and Visual Arts. (n. d.) Retrieved from on January 2, 2018.
Backward Design. (2013, December 13). Retrieved from on January 5, 2018.
Bobb, R. C. (n. d.) Arts Education Standards. Retrieved from on January 2, 2018.
McTighe, J. (2012, December 6). Common Core Big Idea 4: Map Backward From Intended Results. Retrieved from on January 5, 2018.

Blog Post
Module 5.1.2
Nick Moses

Since I will be teaching visual arts at the middle school or high school level in Washington, DC, I have used the visual art standards from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education for the District of Columbia. The standard I have chosen to base a unit on is Strand 2: Production and Creative Expression. This strand asks students to use the application of artistic processes and methods in multiple media in order to express their intentions in original artworks. I have chosen this because one of the subcategories in this strand is dedicated to mixing paints in order to show color relationships. This is one of my strong areas. I have studied color theory, both the incredibly boring kind and the more interesting one, and I have notebooks filled with color mixing recipes. It is possible for me to create any color by mixing paint except for the primaries (red, yellow, blue) and white, and I am eager to share that skill. At the end of this unit, my students will be able to mix a variety of colors that they can use in their original artworks. The following is the beginning of the color mixing unit. The idea is that students will understand how to mix colors, what their compliments are, and to understand how colors change when placed next to each other. This unit will be based on the art and theories of Josef Albers (1888 - 1976), a German-born American artist and Yale University art professor.

Proficiencies that students will need to achieve:

1. Understanding color interactions: All students will experiment with different color combinations and learn how different colors react to each other.
2. Complimentary Colors: Students will learn how to create their own complimentary colors (violet, orange, green), and not rely on colors straight from the tube of paint.
3. Mixing Colors and Compliments: Students will learn how to mix a color with its compliment in order to create the illusion of shadow.


1. Color Interactions: Students will be asked to experiment at home. They will take two buckets of water, one hot, one cold (only as hot as they would use to wash hands). They will put one hand in each bucket for ten seconds, and then switch for another ten seconds. They will find that the cold does not feel cold anymore, and the hot does not feel hot, even though it is. Afterwards, they will be asked to write down their findings. This assessment will show them that even though a color is bright, it may appear dull when influenced by another color. This will also show them that color can be deceiving.

2. Complimentary Colors: Like primary colors, color compliments have a variety of hues. Students will be asked to mix each complimentary color in order to come up with ten different hues. For example, for making orange, students will chose from a variety of reds and yellows. They will mix each red with each yellow, in different amounts (more red, less yellow, etc.) until they are able to understand the differences between the different hues.

3. Mixing Colors and Compliments: Every beginning art student has the notion that in order to create a shadow, black is to be used, and in order to create light, white is the answer. This is nowhere near correct. White turns colors into pastels, and black does not create the illusion of a shadow, but rather, a hole. Students will learn to mix a primary color with its compliment. As in assessment 2, students will be asked to mix several different hues of the color (red mixed with differing amounts of green) in order to understand how to create shadows that are light, all the way to the darkest.

Learning Experiences and Activities to Help the Students Develop These Skills

1. Colored Paper: In his book, The Interaction of Color, artist Josef Albers suggests having students use colored paper instead of paint in order to understand how colors interact. Students will be given the opportunity to mix and match different squares of color in order to create their own Albers work.

2. Museum Visit: Washington, DC is a great museum city. There are several to choose from, and if it is the National Gallery of Art, or any of the Smithsonian Museums, the admission is free, and they are open 363 days a year. To assist students understanding, I will ask them to visit the Smithsonian’s Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The Hirschhorn has a large collection of Josef Albers works, and since this unit plan is based on his work and theories, they will need to see his work in person. If possible, this will be a class field trip. If not, students will need to find time to go to the museum outside of school time. After viewing the works, students will be asked to write a short essay describing the work and relating it to another work that they also viewed that day.

3. Color quiz!: As the unit advances, students may find it difficult to remember all of the color combinations that they have created, or how they created them. In order to reinforce this, at the beginning of class, once the students have their paints set up, they will be given a color by name and asked to mix it. We will do this for about 3 colors, so not to take up too much class time.

4. Name That Color!: The class will develop names for colors that we will have to mix often so that they will have an easier time remembering what color matches what name. The names could be serious or fun, that will be up to the students. In the classroom, as a group, we will construct a giant poster for the wall that will list all of the color names that the class has come up with, along with the proper recipes to create the color. For example, if the students named a color “Sidewalk Gray,” next to its name on the poster will be the colors used to create it, and the amounts needed (i.e. 30% blue, 20% white, 20% red, 10% yellow).

Albers, J. (1971). The Interaction of Color (Revised). New Haven, Connecticut. Yale University Press.
Art: Dance, Drama, Music and Visual Arts. (n. d.) Retrieved from on January 2, 2018.
Bobb, R. C. (n. d.) Arts Education Standards. Retrieved from on January 2, 2018.