A whole lot can happen in just two minutes in the art room. By using a ‘Stop, Drop and Write” technique midway through a project my students were able to refocus, have O2 put into their brains, meet a state benchmark, self-assess, and for me to use their writing to assess their learning/process/thinking of the project. Wow, that is a very busy two minutes. I had never heard or tried this until I read an article from Heather Wolpert-Gawron: Tween Brains, Part III: How it Work It Out In The Classroom. She mentioned having the students participate in an instantaneous think aloud. I thought, “Why not try it?”
I tweaked it for my students. This is what I did:
- I passed out note-cards ahead of time and had the students put their name on a card.
- I let them know ahead of time that I was going to shout out “Stop, Drop, and Write” at some point in the class.
- At which point they should stop what they are doing, drop right to the floor with a writing instrument and their note-card.
- Then they were to write about what they were going to do next in their project (relates to state standards) for two minutes.
- About half way into the class when I saw they needed a mental break I shouted, “Stop, Drop, and Write.”
- And that is exactly what they did.
- When they went back to their seats they were still focused and went back to working on their project. I was able to then read what they wrote on their cards. Yep, turns out it works. The students did very well on self-assessing their own artwork and what they needed to do next. If they hadn’t then I could have changed directions and retaught something.
This technique could be used for any project. I tried it when my students were working on their crazy cactus lesson. This lesson went over very well for my middle school students. The students had a high buy in rate because they were allowed to choose what to put in their cacti and they liked trying to make people’s eyes go “buggy.” I borrowed the lesson idea from the book Dynamic Art Projects for Children by Denise Logan. I tweaked it a bit by not painting; I did that a few years ago and found students tend to go overboard with the puffy paint. I also added a part where students researched an Op artist and their artwork for inspiration and at the end students wrote about their art.
This is a shortened list of what we did in class.
- First we did a bit of research on optical art.
- Next we created designs to go on the cactus shape.
- We stared at colored construction paper until our eyes saw the opposite.
- We added color to the designs.
- At one point we stopped, dropped, and wrote what we were going to do next.
- Next we cut the cacti out.
- We added a pattern on the outside for spikes.
- Finally we wrote a statement about our artwork.
Please enjoy the video of my students and their artwork.