The Art of Critique Storytelling For Students

Art is a means of communication, right?  Students love to express themselves through art, but sometimes a little story that goes with the art can mean a whole lot. 

In my classroom of first graders, we would do a critique at the end of the month.  Students could choose one piece of art from their folder of projects, and when their turn came, they got a chance to share something about the artwork. 

One six year old boy named Doccor had several beautiful, colorful projects, but chose a simple taped-together white paper sculpture that he made in Free Time.  In fact, Doccor snuck the tape after clean-up time for this project.  I didn’t think much of his desperate little creation, but soon he had the whole room engaged as he set the paper “cup” up and began to show how it was a robot and a basketball hoop, etc.  He simply had an admirable passion for 3-D art paired with his imagination!

After Doccor told a bit about why he liked this artwork, he was able to pick one raised hand to make a positive comment.  He beamed as he had the entire class to choose from! 

Critique helps two ways.  It presents a chance for students to:

  • Verbally add to artwork
  • Understand and appreciate other’s artwork better

Critique does take valuable class time, but can be worth it as students recognize how to communicate.  They will be likely to learn from the experience and repeat the commentary to family outside the art room!  Parents quickly realize when their children talk about their art that they are benifiting, and support art education in return.

-Story from Ms. Samuelson’s Art Room, Iowa