Art at Albemarle Middle School

November 17, 2015

Second Quarter Sketches

  1. draw your happiest memory

  2. draw your favorite food

  3. draw a fantasy landscape

  4. draw something that you love

  5. draw someone that you would like to visit

  6. draw a boat that you would like to travel around the world in

  7. draw a forest and the wild animals that live in it

  8. draw a city in the future

  9. design a new outfit

  10. draw a pile of unfolded laundry

  11. draw your name in block letters with your non-dominant hand

  12. draw a scene in a restaurant

  13. design a new font

  14. draw a caricature of yourself and your best friend

  15. draw a crumbled piece of paper

  16. draw an ocean wave

  17. draw simple 3d objects and shade them

  18. draw a window with something inside and something outside

  19. draw a little village

  20. draw candy made of weird ingredients

  21. draw a make believe occupation

  22. draw an animal with a super power

  23. give directions to make something by drawing the steps

  24. draw a science project gone wrong

  25. fill the page with as many lines as possible-don’t repeat any lines

  26. draw the inside of a junk drawer-real or imagined

  27. draw what scares you

  28. illustrate a joke

  29. draw an exaggerated face

  30. draw something with wings

  31. draw an egg carton with something besides eggs in it

  32. draw something sweet

  33. draw something green

  34. draw an angry face

  35. design a tattoo

  36. draw 2 opposites

  37. fill an entire page with doodles

  38. pick a lyric from a favorite (appropriate) song and illustrate it

  39. illustrate your favorite moment from last week

  40. draw a staircase in the middle of the page.  At the top, draw your biggest dream.  On each step, draw the steps that you need to take to fulfill that dream

  41. draw a sci fi landscape

  42. draw a city in the sky

  43. draw a collection of objects

  44. draw the contents of a trash can

  45. draw something that you need

  46. draw a scene from your favorite movie

  47. draw something close up and cropped

  48. draw a still life

  49. redesign a book cover

  50. draw an animal that doesn’t exist

October 27, 2015


Grading is my least favorite part of my job. Art is so subjective, however I try to be as objective as I possibly can be when it comes to assigning grades to the projects that my students turn in.

Today marks the last day of the First Quarter of the 2015-2016 school year. The last 4 days of the quarter have been used as "Ketchup Days". Students have the opportunity to use class time to finish any projects that they may not have completed. It is up to students to get their work done and to use their time wisely. I conference with each student, showing them their grade for the quarter and give them the opportunity to complete or redo projects.

In my classroom, I have visual reminders of the expectations for the level of craftsmanship for middle school students so that there is no question about what is expected from them at this point in their school career.

This rubric is on my door and is an example of the expectations for craftsmanship and coloring.  Often, I will redirect students to the rubric when they turn in a project so that they can self-assess.  

This second image is on my front board (in a different direction!) and shows the expectations for different media.  I want to make sure that students have absolutely no question as to what is expected of them.

I also use a modified rubric fashioned from the Studio Habits of Mind.  This outlines expectations in the Art Room (studio) and demonstrates to  students that they need to participate in taking care of the classroom and materials, not giving up when learning a new skill and learning to think like an artist.

Studio Habits


A (90-100)

B (80-89)

C (70-79)

D (60-69)

Learning to use materials and tools correctly and caring for your space and the art room.

Art materials were cared for and returned to where they belong in excellent condition.

Space was clean and ready for the next class.

Art work was neat

Art materials were cared for and returned to where they belong in good condition.

Space was clean and ready for the next class.

Art work was neat with few extra marks or mistakes.

Art materials somewhat cared for and returned to where they belong in fair condition.

Space was not left as clean and neat as it could be.

Some of my work was sloppy.

Art materials were not cared for and not returned to where they belong.

Space was left messy.

Art work was sloppy and evident that time and care was not taken.

Engaging and Persisting

A (90-100)

B (80-89)

C (70-79)

D (60-69)

Learning to work through problems, to develop focus and perseverance at art tasks.  

Artwork was complete.  The artist took his time and was thoughtful about the process.

Artwork is mostly complete and the artist worked hard.

Artwork is still in beginning phase or it is evident that artist has rushed through the project to complete it.

Artwork is not complete or was rushed through with little to no regard to technique or process.  

Envisioning and Expressing

A (90-100)

B (80-89)

C (70-79)

D (60-69)

Learning to imagine and brainstorm.  Thinking outside the box.

Artist came up with more than one idea and chose the one that was the most unique.

Artwork is clearly thought out.

Artist came up with one idea that was somewhat original but many components were copied.

Artwork was not original.  Artist put little thought or effort into coming up with a new idea.

Artwork was copied and the artist put no effort into being original.

I hope that this information gives a little bit of insight as to how I grade student artwork and why your child has earned the grade that they have earned in Art.  Of course, each project also has different criteria that are explained at the beginning of a project.  For example, we recently finished an abstract drawing that was to show the use of value.  In that project, students knew that they need to show me that they understand how to show value, use the space on the paper and follow the steps to create the forms that were expected along with the requirements in the above examples.

I do tell my students that effort does go a long way in my class.

September 17, 2015

Wanted (in the art room!)

Please send in:

cardboard tubes (toilet paper, paper towel, mailing tubes)

old (clean) t shirts

September Sketchbook Challenge

  • Draw the offspring of 2 improbable animals

  • Draw a mysterious device

  • Draw an unfit means of travel

  • Draw a monster doing a mundane task

  • Draw a liquid in motion

  • Draw an outlandish house

  • Draw a science project gone wrong

  • Draw a cartoon character as a zombie

  • Draw an action scene

  • Draw something broken

  • Draw a futuristic appliance

  • Draw a treehouse

  • Draw something on fire

  • Draw a horrible monument

  • Draw an unlikely pair

August 20, 2015

School Supplies

I went to Hobby Lobby today and it seems that the pumpkins and pilgrims had been out for some time and the little worker elves were busy setting up Christmas decorations.  I suppose then that it is not preemptive of me to go ahead and post my back to school supply list.

You can find all the AMS class supply lists here at Teacher Lists. Just type in our zip code and choose Albemarle Middle School.

But, because I am visual here's what you need as an AMS Bulldog Visual Art Student for the 15-16 school year.

Visual Arts Supply List

1  1-2" 3-ring binder for sketches, notes and brainstorming.  Wait.  What?  Notes? IN ART?  WTH, MizzSmiff?
Colored Pencils.  Optional but STRONGLY encouraged.

Markers.  Also optional, but STRONGLY encouraged.

Sharpies or something similar.

Pencils.  EVERY DAY.  Bring a pencil to my class.  These are my favorite #2 pencils but honestly, please just bring a pencil to my class.  Please.

An eraser.  These erasers are my very favorite and once you use one, it will be your favorite, too.  We all make mistakes.  We all need a do over.  These erasers are the best and I use them all the time.  Yes, I make mistakes.  All. The. Time.

You also might want to get a pencil box or pouch to keep your supplies in. Label everything.  

In the meantime, don't think about school and enjoy your summer.  Go outside and play, even though it is hot out there.  It will be August 25th before we know it. I'll see you then!

March 23, 2015

The end of third quarter is almost upon us.  Just a reminder that art students have until March 27th to turn in, make up or redo any art projects from this quarter that they would like to be regraded.

New blog post up at MizzSmiff's Art Room!  Check out our latest oil pastel project.

March 5, 2015

Art progress reports went home today.  Please note that if students have not turned in a project or have received a failing grade, they have the opportunity to make up the work for full credit if the project is turned in prior to March 27th.  Students will also receive 5 extra credit points added to their lowest grade if their progress report is returned, signed by a parent.

If you have not checked out my blog, MizzSmiff's Art Room, click on the tab above for updated information and lots of pictures about what is happening in art at AMS.

October 20, 2014

I am so excited to say that my grant request from Donor's Choose has been approved.  I am hoping to be able to purchase a class set of digital cameras to help promote digital literacy.  If you should feel so inclined, please follow this link to donate to the AMS Art Classsroom.  Use the code SPARK until October 27th. and all donations, up to $100.00 will be doubled.  Thank you in advance for your support!

September 28, 2014

New Blog Post up at MizzSmiff's Art Room!

Our first ART CLUB meeting will be Monday, September 29th. from dismissal until 4:00 pm. in the art room.  Students must have returned their permission slip to me to be able to attend.

Welcome to Art at Albemarle Middle School!  I am excited about art this year!  

We have changed the structure of exploratory classes at AMS.  All Exploratory classes will be on a semester schedule for the year.  For the first time, students in the arts in middle school will be participating in ASW testing this year.  More information on that will be coming.  

I have a blog where I post lots of pictures of what we are doing in class. Check out Mizzsmiff's Art Room 

Art at Albemarle Middle School can also be found on Facebook
Just ask to join the group
I'll be posting lots of pictures of the wonderful work our students are doing, as well as information about Art Club and Artalympics.

Exploratory Schedule for 2014-2015

Block 1

8th Grade

A - 8:00-8:44

B - 8:46-9:30

Block 3

7th Grade

A - 10:20-11:04

B - 11:06-11:50

Block 4

6th Grade

A - 12:30-1:14

B - 1:16-2:00


Supplies that would be helpful (but are not obligatory) for all art students:

Colored Pencils
Handheld pencil sharpeners
glue sticks
Pencil pouch or box to hold supplies
In addition, students may want to have an apron or smock to store in the classroom to wear on 'messy days'


 Every child has the right to expect an education rich in the knowledge of the arts and culture.


A comprehensive Art Education program exposes students to a tangible record of culture and society.  Art Education enables students to become active participants in the creation of that record.


 A comprehensive Arts Education program encourages active learning by providing opportunities for intellectual growth and diverse experiences in heterogeneous classrooms.  The artistic process of seeing, internalizing, interpreting and creating is student driven with teachers as guides.


A comprehensive Arts Education program teaches tolerance for differences, allows for self expression, encourages acceptance of others and celebrates individuality.  The Arts foster an appreciation of the past and promote participation in today's world.




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