I teach in a widely-diverse neighborhood. We have a huge population of Arabic, Polish, African-American, Hispanic, and more. Besides their ethnic backgrounds, we also have a variety of development levels, especially in Kindergarten. I can tell on a kindergarten student's first day in art if they had been in early childhood, daycare or preschool by the first drawings they make for me.
For my first day of art every year, all students are asked to create a full-body drawing of themselves. The art teachers in our district use this drawing to measure long-term growth. After 8th grade, the students will receive their drawings as a final portfolio. With kindergarten, I can get anything from scribbles to full bodies made without sticks. My goal by mid-year is to have all students draw bodies with shapes and move away from the dreaded "m & m" heads and stick figures. I even push away from those corner suns.
Throughout the years, I still remind the students NOT to use sticks or corner suns, but it improves in every passing year.
Before I start the mid-year drawing assessment, I have my students start a book in class that I made to help practice their shapes. I then have the students take the books home to complete on their own. Since kindergarten does not receive an art grade on their report card, I give incentives to students who return their books completed (ex. candy, stickers, pencils). I make sure the students know that if they do not finish their books, they will have a hard time with their next project!
If you would like a copy of my shape book that I created for kindergarten, please contact me and I will email you a pdf.
The following week, I show students how to draw a full body using shapes. We go over the head, neck, torso, arms, and legs, as well as the features of the face. After the students draw the entire body, I have them traced with black marker, and colored in with crayon. This is also where I push students to color the sky ALL THE WAY and not leave a little blue line at the top of the paper.
Here's some finished products!
After students draw their pictures, they trace with black marker before starting to color.
Still, we find those that show emerging skills that do not meet the standards at the level they should be at. This is the reason why it is importrant to have assessments...so you can document student growth and know which students would need additional assistance in improving their visual skills. The same goes with any subject in school!