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dd not meeting potential?

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
i just got a message today from dd's teacher about a homework assignment dd had turned in. she was to draw a picture of what she thinks she will look like at 100 years old. the teacher returned it with a question mark. i replied in a note that it was a picture of dd's face with "lots freckles". the teacher called in response to my note. she said she wouldn't have been able to tell it was a face (it looked like a face to me and-obviously dd) because it was all in pencil, with no details drawn in crayon. i didn't see anything wrong with the picture being entirely in pencil. she said this type of work is acceptable in sept. or oct., but now that we are in march, she should be using more details. i was thinking of requesting a meeting with her to have her define more clearly what she expects of dd. needless to say, i am feeling very anxious over the whole situation.

i just wanted to know if anyone else had this kind of issue ever. tia!!
post #2 of 34
woah that's a little too intrusive in art i should say.

children are all over the place where art is concerned. plus its their self expression.

i would be mad as hell.

however i think if you got the teachers guidelines you could gently encourage dd to do more.

better coming from you than the teacher.
post #3 of 34
I'd be really annoyed if my kid's teacher were criticizing her art. jeez.
post #4 of 34
Seriously?? I would be ticked. Is this your 5-year-old dd in your signature? That is completely insane. I would definitely have a talk with the teacher about this. Good luck and I hope you get it all resolved.
post #5 of 34
They're all about the detail in K (ds is constantly showing me how much "detail" is in his pictures), and read all sorts of things into it.

The first week of K ds drew a picture of his classmates that all had straight lines for mouths. The teacher obviously thought that this indicated something "off" with ds, but after talking with the teacher, dh figured out that ds was just drawing what he observed--a class full of closed mouthed children concentrating on their work .
post #6 of 34
Was the teacher assuming she did didn't take the time to work on detail? I mean for example if all the other kids sat and took their time and it looked like you DD just took a pencil and scribbled? I'm just trying to understand what the teacher is wanting. Either way.... Weird for a K teacher to be caught up with this.
post #7 of 34
Well speaking as someone with absolutely NO artistic ability whatsoever, I think schools put way to much emphasis on art in general. Its great to let the kids express themselves and learn as much as they can but sometimes teachers tend to go overboard about things. I am 33 and still draw stick people, and cannot draw in a straight line without an aid. art is something I could never wrap my head around..it's not something I use today in my life skills either. I understand the art concept but putting it into practical use I am deficient, so if I were in your shoes I'd prob show a picture I made to the teacher and ask if *I* would pass her art class, and when/if she said no I'd politely ask her to back off my kid as she comes by it honestly.
post #8 of 34
Also, I don't get sending it back with a question mark on it. That seems so passive aggressive. Either ask the kid about it, or at least write an actual question. I mean, couldn't she have just asked your daughter to tell her about the picture she drew, and then make suggestions for how to add more detail to it? Or suggest adding some color to it and offering crayons? WTH were you and your daughter supposed to do with feedback in the form of a question mark?
post #9 of 34
Take her criticism with a grain of salt. Because it means less than that.

I always wonder how come teachers don't get evaluated by parents? I mean it is OUR children they are teaching right? If we had the right to send report cards home with them about THEIR performance I wonder how much teaching would change....just a thought. I mean what if WE sent them a big question mark about their own performances in the teaching realm?

That would be trick to see.
post #10 of 34
Wow, that's truly annoying. I wouldn't spend a second worry about your daughter's artistic abilities. I would keep an eye on whether or not the teacher's negativity was having an effect on my child though.

My child at 5 was rather a minimalist with her art. She often spent lots of time with little to show for it. However, at age 11, we find we actually have a very talented artist who draws amazing, creative things. Well actually lately she's only been drawing Manga 99% of the time - but it is really good! LOL
post #11 of 34
That's seems really off to me. We are NOT organized. There are times when we have been less organized. A pencil drawing in *my* home is likely to be indicative of not being able to find crayons or simply not having a lot of time for that particular assignment. My kid will happily work math problems, puzzles and mazes before she has to draw yet another picture illustrating one more "High 5 expectation."
post #12 of 34
I find the whole assignment kind of interesting. When I was 5, I thought that a 30 year old was REALLY old. My grandmother was ANCIENT as a 70 year old. If someone would have asked me to draw myself when I was 100, I might have left it blank because that would have been wild to me. But I digress.....

IMO, individual artistic expression needs to be left as such. If the teacher needed or wanted specific details, then she should have been specific. Even my 8 year old isn't always detail oriented in all of his art - he places the detail where he wants. The 5-7 year olds in my dd's K class are all over the board in artistic ability.


and FWIW - I got an E on an art assignment when I was in 2nd grade -- I colored a squirrel black and white. My teacher had never seen a black and white squirrel, assumed I was coloring a skunk, and therefore gave me a flunking grade. My mother returned the paper with a photo of a black and white squirrel that lived in our neighborhood. Grade was changed.
post #13 of 34
I would like to know what the teacher's instructions were. Did she ASK for more detail? Did she provide crayons, or give ideas on how she wanted it done? It's the teacher's job to INSPIRE the children. How did she do that?
And quite honestly, what does it really matter in the long run if your daughter can't draw herself at 100 years old?

As far as drawing myself at the age of 100, well ... I probably would have drawn a corpse or a skeleton....
post #14 of 34
I'm laughing because I got in trouble over this exact assignment in the 70s. I think my mother still has the drawing somewhere with the teacher's comments. I drew a tombstone (and I don't think it was detailed).

I would just let your daughter know her teacher is detail-obsessed and please add more details if she can.
post #15 of 34
Speaking as an artist...

I am a bit confused.

What the heck does she mean by "details?" Does she just want the drawing to be busy so it looks like the kid spent forever working on it? Was the drawing actually missing important facial features like a nose?

Why would she think crayons would be clearer than a pencil sketch? IME immature crayon drawings are usually harder to interpret than immature pencil sketches.

What is the point of that assignment in the first place. Drawing old people is hard, trust me.
post #16 of 34
I second and third all the PPs who think it was an odd assignment in the first place. 100 years old? Chances are they're all dead. I am surprised that there weren't more kids who handed in tombstones, like GuildJenn, or skeletons, or just blank papers (I probably would have spoken up in class and tried to educate the teacher about life expectancy - I was that kind of little smart-ass). And how on earth would a kindergartner draw a person that was recognizably a hundred years old? Like eepstser says, drawing old people is really hard (I draw portraits recreationally).

If she wants a face with details in crayon, she should just say so. Otherwise, choice of material and expressiveness is hers. Or is this some weird kind of psychological test? I remember having to draw mself and my family as animals (with explanations in bubbles) after starting middle school in fifth grade, and thinking about putting in all kinds of jokes at my family's expense, and my parents asked me nicely to please put in only nice things about them, because they might get in trouble otherwise, and explained why. They didn't stop me from drawing my mother as a bird who feeds her children, my father as a trusty bear, my brother as an aggressive bull and myself as a prickly hedgehog, though they probably rolled their eyes...

Quote:
I wouldn't spend a second worry about your daughter's artistic abilities. I would keep an eye on whether or not the teacher's negativity was having an effect on my child though.
This.
post #17 of 34
As a Kindergarten teacher, I'm going to take the other side just for a moment.

In the Kindergarten curriculum we use, specific types of drawing is viewed as a way to practice organizing your thoughts for writing down the road. When our kids draw during writer's workshop, we coach them on adding details so you can see action, settings, feelings etc . . . , just as we would coach a first or second grader to add the same things to their writing. If we're in science and we're drawing the stages of a Monarch butterfly, we expect them to use the correct color and location and position of the parts -- if a child turned in a beautiful picture of a butterfly with 10 legs, and purple stars on the wing, I'd say "this is beautiful, but it's not a Monarch, please do it again". If they drew the same picture in the art center, or during art class, or when we're exploring a media rather than communicating science knowlege I'd hang it up.

As far as whether it's "art" I don't necessarily see it that way. Sure drawing can be art -- of course, writing can be art too. But there are also times when we ask a student, or an adult to use writing or drawing to represent a specific piece or set of information, and in those situations it's a reasonable expectation that children do just that. Drawing a picture with "freckles" is the same thing as assigning a paper to a child about "what do you want to be when you grow up" and having the write you a one liner saying "When I grow up I want to be old." As an adult, it's like fabricating information in your newspaper article, or drawing a picture for the instruction manual on how to assemble your new table, and leaving out one of the legs because it looks good to you that way. In both of the situations, the writer/artist would not be able to argue that they were creating "art", they'd be fired.

If my child's teacher called and said "I gave your child an assignment and he rushed through it and didn't give the info I wanted", I'd say "Thanks for letting me know" and have him do a new one at home. I wouldn't be anxious or assume that the teacher wasn't communicating, and I wouldn't be mad with my child, I'd just know that sometimes kids experiment and that I needed to clarify our family's values about taking time and doing work that meets teacher expectations.
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momily View Post
As a Kindergarten teacher, I'm going to take the other side just for a moment.

In the Kindergarten curriculum we use, specific types of drawing is viewed as a way to practice organizing your thoughts for writing down the road. When our kids draw during writer's workshop, we coach them on adding details so you can see action, settings, feelings etc . . . , just as we would coach a first or second grader to add the same things to their writing. If we're in science and we're drawing the stages of a Monarch butterfly, we expect them to use the correct color and location and position of the parts -- if a child turned in a beautiful picture of a butterfly with 10 legs, and purple stars on the wing, I'd say "this is beautiful, but it's not a Monarch, please do it again". If they drew the same picture in the art center, or during art class, or when we're exploring a media rather than communicating science knowlege I'd hang it up.

As far as whether it's "art" I don't necessarily see it that way. Sure drawing can be art -- of course, writing can be art too. But there are also times when we ask a student, or an adult to use writing or drawing to represent a specific piece or set of information, and in those situations it's a reasonable expectation that children do just that. Drawing a picture with "freckles" is the same thing as assigning a paper to a child about "what do you want to be when you grow up" and having the write you a one liner saying "When I grow up I want to be old." As an adult, it's like fabricating information in your newspaper article, or drawing a picture for the instruction manual on how to assemble your new table, and leaving out one of the legs because it looks good to you that way. In both of the situations, the writer/artist would not be able to argue that they were creating "art", they'd be fired.

If my child's teacher called and said "I gave your child an assignment and he rushed through it and didn't give the info I wanted", I'd say "Thanks for letting me know" and have him do a new one at home. I wouldn't be anxious or assume that the teacher wasn't communicating, and I wouldn't be mad with my child, I'd just know that sometimes kids experiment and that I needed to clarify our family's values about taking time and doing work that meets teacher expectations.
See...that's exactly why I disagree with the teacher's position on this. I've been trying to put into words what bugs me about this and I think that's it, actually.

The problem I see with this is that the teacher is expecting the child to perform to satisfy them. The teacher has set up a certain set of expectations and is only looking at those expectations to evaluate the child. In reality, teaching is quite the opposite. We, as teachers, should look at a child's work with wonder and awe. If it's clear that the child did not do what we expected, we have to look and see why:
--Did the child really see any value in the activity? If the child is purely not interested in it, then he needs to be redirected into a more purposeful and meaningful activity. No reason to waste the child's time with meaningless activities in the classroom.
--Did the child have a different set of expectations? In a common analogy, remember that a child with an expressive personality will often "color outside of the lines" as he imagines a story. (Try asking them to tell you what they're drawing as they do it if they are like that. You'll be amazed at how much more important their art is to them than previously thought).
--Was the child working on other skills with the activity? I remember one 3 year old child taking the chains from the bead cabinet. The chains are used to teach everything from linear counting to skip counting to multiplications to squares of numbers to cubes of numbers to cube roots to....well....you get the point. The activity as it was clearly over this child's head, but what he did with it was hang them up and it was a fine motor activity, which is what the child needed at the time.
--Is the child having trouble controlling the pencil? If so, he needs more pre-writing, fine motor activities and more pencil control activities.

All the things you are describing ~ art, reading, writing....these things all happen spontaneously in the environment. A child learns to be meticulous in his art through observing things and **deciding** to try to draw it like it is.

Just my 2 cents.
Matt
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattBronsil View Post
See...that's exactly why I disagree with the teacher's position on this. I've been trying to put into words what bugs me about this and I think that's it, actually.

The problem I see with this is that the teacher is expecting the child to perform to satisfy them. The teacher has set up a certain set of expectations and is only looking at those expectations to evaluate the child. In reality, teaching is quite the opposite. We, as teachers, should look at a child's work with wonder and awe. If it's clear that the child did not do what we expected, we have to look and see why:
--Did the child really see any value in the activity? If the child is purely not interested in it, then he needs to be redirected into a more purposeful and meaningful activity. No reason to waste the child's time with meaningless activities in the classroom.
--Did the child have a different set of expectations? In a common analogy, remember that a child with an expressive personality will often "color outside of the lines" as he imagines a story. (Try asking them to tell you what they're drawing as they do it if they are like that. You'll be amazed at how much more important their art is to them than previously thought).
--Was the child working on other skills with the activity? I remember one 3 year old child taking the chains from the bead cabinet. The chains are used to teach everything from linear counting to skip counting to multiplications to squares of numbers to cubes of numbers to cube roots to....well....you get the point. The activity as it was clearly over this child's head, but what he did with it was hang them up and it was a fine motor activity, which is what the child needed at the time.
--Is the child having trouble controlling the pencil? If so, he needs more pre-writing, fine motor activities and more pencil control activities.

All the things you are describing ~ art, reading, writing....these things all happen spontaneously in the environment. A child learns to be meticulous in his art through observing things and **deciding** to try to draw it like it is.

Just my 2 cents.
Matt



I know that Kindergarten is "real" school, but I would take this kind of feedback with a grain of salt unless I understood more about the specific concerns of the teacher. Is it an issue of following directions? Is it an issue of effort? Is it an issue of fine motor skills? Even then, I would put in the context of my child's overall development path - are they really delayed (which would raise concerns) or just working on different skills than the one displayed in the particular assignment?

DD, fortunately, has a great Kindy teacher who may point out areas where DD "needs work" but leaves it to us as the parents to decide whether it is something we really want her to work on at that time. On her first report card, the teacher noted that her printing "needs work". Yeah, maybe it does, but I am happy where she is at, which is on target or ahead in other areas. I try to get her practice "neatness" when she is in the mood, but if she is more interested in the spelling at that moment, then that is what I am going to work on with her. At this age, kids gain skills at different paces and that is both expected and OK. DD's drawing skills are definitely "behind" many of her peers, based on the artwork that I see hanging in the corridors, but she is the youngest in the class and the oldest is maybe 18 months older, so a big range of ages and skills. So, it is not exactly an area that I am going to spend a lot of time worrying about.
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momily View Post
In the Kindergarten curriculum we use, specific types of drawing is viewed as a way to practice organizing your thoughts for writing down the road. When our kids draw during writer's workshop, we coach them on adding details so you can see action, settings, feelings etc . . . , just as we would coach a first or second grader to add the same things to their writing.
If this assignment is about telling a story of a 100 yo you, then shouldn't the teacher have explained that to the OP. Shouldn't she have told the OP that she wasn't looking for portraits, but wanted a picture that told a story? She said the drawing needed more "detail." There are limited levels of action and story telling one can do in a portrait of the head.

Quote:
If we're in science and we're drawing the stages of a Monarch butterfly, we expect them to use the correct color and location and position of the parts -- if a child turned in a beautiful picture of a butterfly with 10 legs, and purple stars on the wing, I'd say "this is beautiful, but it's not a Monarch, please do it again". If they drew the same picture in the art center, or during art class, or when we're exploring a media rather than communicating science knowlege I'd hang it up.
If this is about scientific drawing, then wouldn't it make much more sense to draw a really old relative. If the teacher wants accuracy based on observation, then she could have asked them to draw the oldest member of the family, such as a grandparent or great-aunt or even a great-grandparent. This assignment wasn't about scientific accuracy though, she asked the students to imagine what they will look like at 100 yo. Since there really aren't that many people around who make it to 100, that involves much more speculation than observation.

As others have pointed out, scientifically speaking, most of them are going to die before they reach 100 yo. Unless the teacher wants the students contemplating their own mortalities at 5-6 yo, this is just not much of a science lesson.

Quote:
As far as whether it's "art" I don't necessarily see it that way. Sure drawing can be art -- of course, writing can be art too. But there are also times when we ask a student, or an adult to use writing or drawing to represent a specific piece or set of information, and in those situations it's a reasonable expectation that children do just that. Drawing a picture with "freckles" is the same thing as assigning a paper to a child about "what do you want to be when you grow up" and having the write you a one liner saying "When I grow up I want to be old." As an adult, it's like fabricating information in your newspaper article, or drawing a picture for the instruction manual on how to assemble your new table, and leaving out one of the legs because it looks good to you that way. In both of the situations, the writer/artist would not be able to argue that they were creating "art", they'd be fired.
If the assignment simply was stated as "What do you want to be when you grow up" then a single word such as "old' or "fire fighter" should be accepted. If the teacher wants more than that the assignment should be "Write a (sentence/paragraph/essay/thesis/novel) about what you want to be when you grow up."

If one has a job as a journalist, then it is usually pretty clear what is needed, and that is frequently not to add as much detail as possible. In journalism, words are money, add extras just for the sake of looking like you worked hard and you are wasting money. Every sentence a journalist adds to their article is taking away a half an inch of advertisements. If your in the obituary dept, then summarizing a life down to a single sentence is a valuable skill.

Quote:
If my child's teacher called and said "I gave your child an assignment and he rushed through it and didn't give the info I wanted", I'd say "Thanks for letting me know" and have him do a new one at home. I wouldn't be anxious or assume that the teacher wasn't communicating, and I wouldn't be mad with my child, I'd just know that sometimes kids experiment and that I needed to clarify our family's values about taking time and doing work that meets teacher expectations.
However, the teacher isn't communicating. She is did not clarify the goal of the assignment, she just made a vague statement about "details." Then she placed an arbitrary higher value on drawings done with crayons over those done with pencil (BTW, I did a bit of scientific illustration in college, we used pencils not crayons.) Talk about lack of details and sloppiness, the teacher wrote "?" on the students drawing, that's just about as minimalist as one can get.
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