Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tired of Test Structured Classrooms: Use an Artistic Presentation to Evaluate Your Students

Hello Blog Readers,
So far on my blogs I have shared with you plays that reach high school students on a social level, three options, one being the best way to use a skit to teach a math lesson, and two techniques to incorporate Theater in and English classroom.

Now, I wanted to share some general knowledge and give you a creative alternative to tests as a way to evaluate your students progress at the end of each term or year.  This applies to almost any and all subjects!

This method of assessment is called an:

Artistic Presentation

This alternative project gives your students a choice in how they want to present the knowledge they have learned in a new and interesting way.  This project can be given in Social Studies, Science, English, and Elective courses as well.


  • Choices in your lesson plans gives student freedom over their education.  It gives them an opportunity to have a say in their lives, at a time when they are struggling to gain power and discover their identities as this is a natural process of adolescence.
  • Some examples of options for the assignment that your students can choose from include: a poem, a short story, a skit, a song, an altered ending to class material they have been reading (ex: scientific discovery, what if this happened for Science, changing an historical event for History, or end of a novel for English), a painting, photos they take, etc.  You can even let them choose an option of their own with your approval of course.

What Will Your Students Gain From This?

  • Interest and motivation in this project will hopefully promote "flow", that is the joy of learning and the groove that students get into and often loose track of time (When students are interested in their learning, they retain more of what is taught to them)
  • Freedom of self-expression
  • Possibly discover new talents
  • Ability to show you the different ways they learn and are able to illustrate their knowledge

What Will You Gain From This?

  • An exciting and entertaining way to evaluate your students
  • Explore your artistic perception and try a new way to help your students
  • Experience and feel proud that your students are loving learning
*Personal Anecdote:
I have experienced how wonderful it is to have the freedom of artistic expression when learning on countless occasions as a student.  

Both in one of my high school English and History classes we had to gather knowledge about a time period and provide food of that period at our own table, dress in the fashion of that time period, act as if we were people alive then, as well as discuss other aspects of what we have learned.  It was very fun to feel as if the distant and old material I had been studying was real and that I was transported back into that era.

This picture reminds me of how my middle school had this program where the 7th grade students dressed up as people from the Renaissance and the 8th graders dressed up as people from the Civil War and on each day the students participated in little workshops learning about life back then and doing the activities people commonly did in those time periods.  This photo reflects more of a Civil War time period.

In my college English class in which I was studying the authors Faulkner and Morrison, the final project was to come up with an artistic presentation of our choice (such as what I have listed for you above) and I had a ball!  My group was large and we chose to do a version of the Bachelorette.  

We had one boy in our group and he was the Bachorlette and the rest of us were here suitors.  The role reversal was hilarious and emphasized key points that Faulkner and Morrison made about the stereotype of women.  The Bachelorette was Caddy from The Sound and the Fury and the rest of us were various characters from the author's novels, one of whom was Caddy's brother (joke on the idea of incest within the novel.
My character was Anse Bundren, the father of a dysfunctional family who is coping with the death of Anse's wife in Faulkner's novel As I Lay Dying.  He is a country-simpleton who oddly seems to care more about getting a set of false teeth than his wife who just died.  At the end of the novel he finds a new wife after burying his deceased one.  He's an interesting character and I played him very strong and dim-witted, hard working, and creepy without teeth.  

Complete with a Southern accent, slumped posture, overalls, and a moustache, it was hilarious.  He had this habit of flirting by licking his lips at the Bachelorette and raising his eyebrows.  I creeped my Professor out and she laughed uncontrollably during the performance!!!

I learned from this project and it was so much FUN!

No regrets.  So I definitely doing something like this in your classroom.  I know I will in mine.

Thanks for reading.
More to come soon,
Aliana ~Theater Lover~
Future Teacher

No comments:

Post a Comment