I ask this question frequently when I visit an art room, “What are you working on?” I even ask when I already know the answer.
Recently I went into two art rooms at the same school. The classes happened to be the same grade level and I was excited to see the two art teachers were collaborating. In this case, that meant I saw the same lesson happening in both classrooms.
I asked my question in both classes. I one room I got answers like these:
- Just drawing
- Just doing a contest (it was not a contest)
- We are doing this (points to paper)
- We are doing… (reads title of paper)
In the other classroom the response to my question was an enthusiastic explanation of the project, and each person at the table wanted a turn to describe their ideas to me.
Now, this was not a thorough study. I asked just a few students in each room, but the difference was astonishing! In the latter example, students were clearly more engaged and using higher order thinking skills. In the first, students barely knew what they were doing, let alone what they were learning.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?!
What can you do, as a teacher, to make it more likely your students will respond to, “what are you working on?” with enthusiasm, awareness, and evidence of thinking and learning?