Welcome to Art with Mrs. French

I've put together this site to showcase some of the wonderful art work my students are creating. Take a look around and enjoy!

We Are Art Smart!

Howard Gardner, Ph.D., professor at Harvard University, first identified seven different kinds of intelligence in his classic book Frames of Mind. His theory has challenged assumptions about intelligence and learning and deeply influenced the path of education in the United States.

Gardner identifies Spatial intelligence as the ability to "think in pictures," to perceive the visual world accurately, and recreate (or alter) it in the mind or on paper. Spatial intelligence is highly developed in artists, architects, designers and sculptors. When we create art, thinking and acting to increase and develop our spatial intelligence, we become Art Smart!

Click here for an interesting article from ARTSEDGE on why being Art Smart is an important 21st century workplace skill.

About me

Julie French

I started my career in advertising as a graphic designer working with some very interesting businesses and non-profits. Click here to see some of that work. After taking time off to start a family, I wanted to combine my two loves — children and art. Click here to see some of my art work. I'm now in my fourth year teaching art and I love it! My students' creativity amazes me every day, they are a joy to work with.

Contact Me

Parents may reach me through our school website, everyone else please email juliefrench@mac.com.

Acknowledgements

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the people and places that have allowed me to make my transition from graphic designer to art teacher. The State of Connecticut’s Alternate Route to Teacher Certification program allowed me to build on my art degree and professional experience to become highly qualified to teach art in Connecticut. My experience as a student teacher at John Lyman and Korn schools in Regional School District 13 was invaluable, the teachers and administrators there are my heroes and role models! Thank you to the staff at Island Avenue school in Madison for showing me the way during the two years I worked there as a paraprofessional, especially super-teacher Carissa Connell. A grateful thanks to the wonderful, caring people at St. Vincent De Paul School for their daily support and friendship during the three years I taught art there. This year I am teaching a diverse group of students from PreK through high school in Wallingford, and learning so much. I'm fortunate to be working with a group of truly dedicated educators!

Assessing Art Projects

Assessing performance in the arts is essential. The process informs both the artist and the teacher, giving both information they need to achieve their mutual goals. Art assessment takes many forms, here are a few of the ones we use in our classroom. 

Formative and Summative Assessments

Daily Classroom discussions

One wonderful thing about art assessment is that so much of it takes place naturally every day, as the teacher walks around the room viewing and discussing student work, asking and answering questions. The guidance or advice needed to help a student realize his or her vision can be immediate when a teacher is attuned to what's happening right there in the classroom everyday.

That kind of formative art assessment helps improve both student and teacher understanding. It informs the teacher a concept or an idea needs to be clarified, restated or retaught. It keeps students from struggling with something because they are missing a piece of important information they may not have heard or understood the first time it was communicated. It tells a teacher what students are and are not learning about an artist, a style or a technique on a daily basis. Those types of assessments ensure the teacher is giving every student what he or she needs to succeed, and are essential when teaching any subject matter. 

Teacher’s Comments

I try to include a written comment on each student’s work at least once during the life of a project, or if I see from the work there is something that needs adjusting or improving. I find these personal comments really help both encourage and inform students.

Rubrics

While not used for every project, larger ones benefit from the focus achieved by viewing a rubric that shows clear expectations for finished work, as well as allow students to understand the learning objectives for the lesson. This rubric was used for the Warm/Cool Relief Sculpture lesson. The rubric is below, along with the Visual Art Content Standards and Student Learning Objectives the lesson addressed:

Visual Art Content Standards:

1b. select media, techniques and processes to communicate ideas, reflect on their choices, and analyze what makes them effective
2a. use ways of arranging visual characteristics and reflect upon what makes them effective in conveying ideas.
2b. recognize and reflect on the effects of arranging visual characteristics in their own and others’ work
5e. reflect on and evaluate the quality and effectiveness of their own and others’ work using specific criteria (e.g., technique, formal and expressive qualities, content)

Objectives: Students will understand, create and use organic shapes and warm and cool colors to create a 3D paper relief sculpture. Students will reflect on their artwork by writing an “Artist’s Statement”. Students will reflect on and analyze another’s artwork by writing an “Art Critique Sandwich”.

 Assessments: Warm/Cool Relief Sculpture Rubric, Artist Statement, Art Critique Sandwich

Class Review and Discussion

A short general review or discussion of what’s been done and what is left to do at the beginning of each class helps students regain focus after a week’s time away from the art room and their work. It’s also a good time to get a show of hands about general understanding of concepts taught and alerts the teacher to any problems students might be having that were missed during the last class. A brief closing review of the day’s work and a view of what’s to come is also helpful in assessing progress and understanding. I also often pause mid-class to display or discuss an interesting student idea or unique execution of a project with the entire class.

Artist’s Reflections

Artists in the process of creating are constantly assessing the results of their efforts, constantly giving themselves feedback and modifying their work accordingly to achieve that desired result they see in their mind's eye. When a project is complete is the perfect time for both the artist and the teacher to reflect on the time spent and the results achieved. Written artist reflections help a student see what they do and do not like about their finished piece. Why did they choose those colors, that style, those materials? What are they happy with and what might they do differently next time? Asking and answering these questions help us grow as artists and as students, and this process is an important part of any art project. 

A grade 4/5 artist's relection:

Critiques/Gallery Walks

Learning to view and critique another's work while accepting constructive criticism is a life skill, and the art room is a place where that skill is nurtured and allowed to grow. Here our second and third grade students are taking a “gallery walk”, viewing each other’s “Wish Pet” results. They write two positive thoughts about each student’s work, practicing both giving and receiving input from others.

 

Portfolio Review

This year our students kept most of their work in the classroom to take home at the end of the year. This allows them to put together an art portfolio of their work. They can review their projects with family and reflect on favorite techniques or materials they’ve used and artists they’ve learned about. We also do a year end art portfolio page which reviews a few important concepts and/or artists students learned about in class this year. Here are a few examples. 



The Prekindergarten class created an Art Book to reflect on some things they like best about art:


Click here for an interesting article from the Kennedy Center about assessment in the arts.