This week while reading Differentiated Instruction in Art (Heather L. R. Fountain) I found two fantastic ideas for pre-assessments. Pre-assessments help teachers to find out what our students already know and what they like to know. We can also learn about our students interests through these assessments which we can use to help keep students interested and engaged during projects.
The first pre-assessment tool I found is the "In Art I Hope We..." pie chart. Each student will create a pie chart that displays what they are excited to do in art and comparatively how excited they are for each item. You could set out a pre-defined list of categories or simply a few suggested areas of interest or leave it completely up to the students to define. Students should give each section a percentage, in the end it should all add up to 100% (Oh my, math in the art room, crazy!) Some categories could include: Make clay sculptures, draw outside, be in an art show, see art from around the world, learn about artists, draw animals, etc. Each students pie chart should be colored in and each section labeled. When they are finished they could add other interesting facts or things they want the teacher to know about them on the back. This is a great visual way to see the interests of the class and determine what areas of focus should be brought into the art room to grab their attention.
Another pre-assessment idea is the Palette of Choices. For this assessment you'll need a list of ideas, media, artists, projects, and cultures that you would like to teach during the course of the year. Have students look at the options and decide what thing s they would like to do most in art. In each category they should circle three things and place a star next to the one thing they just can't live without. On the back of the page they can list any other ideas they have of things they would like to do in art that year or things they have done in the past that they enjoyed.