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Building A Strong Foundation / Lesson 10 of 10 | Arts & Activities
May 2016

Building A Strong Foundation / Lesson 10 of 10

Building A Strong Foundation / Lesson 10 of 10

Lesson 10 of 10

Summative Assessment Unit  
by Debi West

As I wrap up a year of Secondary Intro Art lessons, I am grateful for this experience and have loved the positive feedback that comes from sharing successful teaching strategies. The more we share, the more we can springboard to make lessons fit for our students and, ultimately, the more our students garner and grow. Our students are the ultimate winners with this type of collaboration.

This series ends with my favorite lesson of all time … my Summative Assessment Bookmaking Unit! This lesson is a culmination of all the lessons learned throughout the semester. My students have three weeks to work on these books and, I have to say, the results are nothing short of phenomenal—each and every one of them!


The pages of the Intro Art students’ books showcased techniques they learned during the past semester.



Students created eight-page accordion-style books that made personal statements in their choice of media, either about who they are OR a theme-based book.


To begin, students make a list of each lesson learned during the semester—even the shorter ones such as value scales, perspective, pattern designs and journal assignments can count as one lesson. The list generally consists of 12 to 14 lessons, depending on the year, and it’s such a great experience reflecting together on each one. Students then select their top eight lessons. These could be their favorite lessons, their most successful lessons or perhaps a lesson or two that really challenged them, which they would like to rework.

Once they have their top-eight list, I explain that they will be re-creating the techniques learned from these lessons in miniature (4″ x 6″ rectangles) and using these as the pages of their own, theme-based accordion-style book.

For example, let’s assume that a student chooses “Holidays” as his or her book theme, and then each of the eight lessons selected will focus on a specific holiday. Perhaps they will choose to create a value scale candy cane, or a color-wheel Christmas tree ornament, or an Easter bunny in contour.

They decide how they can creatively show what they have learned and retained throughout the semester of intro art into their very own theme-based book!

After brainstorming themes and considering how to creatively make the lessons fit into their theme, students receive their paper. Each student receives eight pieces of 6″ x 4″ white drawing paper. They then begin to recreate the lessons onto these miniature pages. Each page takes approximately one class period to complete and they hold onto their art each day, as these will become the pages of their book.

Next, I introduce the actual bookmaking assignment. I show them how to make an accordion book frame insert by folding a piece of 24″ x 6″ white paper back and forth so that they each end up with a dozen 6″ x 4″ rectangles—six on one side and six on the other.

I then demonstrate how to make the cover of the book by cutting two pieces of 5″ x 7″ mat board. The insert is then glued into the two pieces of mat board, like a sandwich. The students now have a front, back and inside “skeleton” for their books.

I then present the rubric form that shows how they will be graded. Students carefully consider how they will design the cover and the back of their books, and where they will place their eight mini lessons into the book, paying attention to the direction of each piece.

It’s important for them to plan accordingly, deciding if the book will be read vertically or horizontally. They are also required to add a table of contents on the front inside of the cover page, which organizes their art. Planning is essential to the overall success of the final product. Finally, students take their critiquing skills and write a Feldman Critique on one of the works they have created. This critique is to be typed and creatively placed on the back inside cover of the book.

Students stay completely engaged in the art-making experiences of this bookmaking lesson. Not only do they work hard, they spend time reflecting on past lessons and showcasing what they authentically learned throughout the semester.

A few days before our finals, students present their books and turn them in with their self-assessment rubric bookmaking forms. It is truly wonderful to see how successful each of these books turns out. They are made with love and care and are a true testament to what real portfolio-based assessments should look like.

I have shared this lesson with educators across the nation and love seeing how they use it in their curriculum to enhance learning and engagement! I can’t wait to see how you all use this lesson, as well as all the lessons presented in this series. AAENDSIGN


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Debi West, Ed.S, NBCT, is Art Department Chair at North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, Georgia. She is also an Arts & Activities Contributing Editor.




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