Saturday, October 3, 2015


I don't know about all of you, but the word assessment makes me cringe. I'm more open to it than I was when I first started teaching, and do find it useful at times but in general miss the time in education when I could just sit and create some fun artwork with my awesome students. However, with the teaching climate the way it is, it is necessary to show that our students are learning-even in art. With 650-700 students depending on enrollment, I had to find a way to easily organize all of these assessments. I used to have half sheets of paper for most projects, but have recently found even easier ways to organize assessment. I went to one of my media specialist and told her I was looking for an app that would allow my students to manipulate images and email the results to me. After looking at a few options, we found the perfect app for this process. PicCollage.
PicCollage allows the user to load as many pictures as desired and layer them as they see fit. I have two assessments currently ready for my students to use. The first one I will use with first graders to show that they learned foreground, middle ground, and background. We are touring Africa this year, and they are working on landscape chalk drawings of the Sahara. They will be putting three items into their landscapes; one in each plane of depth. They can choose from cactus plants, camels, or pyramids. For their PicCollage, I put a picture of sand dunes in first and tapped on "select as background" to lock it into place behind the other images. I then searched for each item, adding "with transparent background" after the name; for example, "camel with transparent background." This allowed me to find images that would fit easily with the picture. Once they were put onto one iPad, they were in the camera roll for all of them and it was just a matter of pre-loading the images I needed. Here's what the image looks like when the kids go into the app: 
They can increase and decrease the image size by pinching and move the items to the foreground, middle ground, and background. We talked about how things in the foreground look larger than things in the background, so they will be able to move them to something like this: 
Here's another one I will be using for third and fourth grade, both of which are learning about radial symmetry of Moroccan mosaics and tiles (more on those later).


When complete, students can simply email me their finished image and type their name in the subject line of the email. I can grade them whenever I have time, from any device that has internet!

The other new assessment tool I am using is Google Classroom. I am very new to this, but have been getting my 3rd-5th graders set up on it. I will post on that once we finish our first projects, so I can give some tried and true tips.

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