A Quick and Easy Way to Get Students Writing About Art

As teachers, we all have different strengths and weaknesses. Something I’m working on is getting my students to write and think critically about contemporary and historical art. It’s not that I don’t see the value in having students write about art, it’s just that I feel there are better ways for me to use my time to help my students than grading essays.

So, this year, I’ve created a way to streamline the process. With a quick weekly writing assignment that I can grade in seconds, I’m all in!



The What

Each week, every student will write about a different artist of their choice. Students must show two examples of the artists’ work and write two sentences describing what they like about it. I have it set up so that students will be able to see their classmates’ picks. With my class sizes, this means my students will end up seeing 255 different artists if we don’t have any repeats.

The Why

The goal here is not to cultivate future art critics. It isn’t even to hone students’ writing skills. I just want them to fill up their creative reserves by looking at loads of artwork.

The How

I couldn’t have set up this assignment without the help of a Learning Management System, or LMS. The LMS that my school has adopted is called Schoology. I’m a big fan. Not only has Schoology streamlined my grading process for this type of assignment, it has streamlined my grading process for student studio work as well.

In addition, once I’ve put a rubric for something in Schoology, I can copy and paste it to use in my other classes or sections. In fact, I can even share it with you! If you’re a Schoology user, you can share things with other art teachers via the “Group” function.

Currently, my little group of rag-tag art teachers on Schoology has a whopping 61 members… but we’re always looking for new blood!  Check out this video on how to upload and share rubrics from group resources to personal courses. If you’re new to the whole idea of an LMS, give it a shot. Schoology is just one choice out there. If you’re interested, it has both a paid option and a free option.

The thing I’m most proud of with this entire “Artist of the Week” idea is the fact that it connects to the standards. In fact, since I had already synched the New Core Art Standards into our Art Teacher Group, I could write a rubric that tied directly to them. Win-Win!
Like I said, although there are other options available, Schoology is pretty slick. In fact, it’s the platform we use here at AOE for all of our online classes. We made the switch a few months ago, and both our instructors and our students are loving it! If you’d like to check out all of our offerings, including our brand new Studio Classes, you can do so right here.

Do you have any time-saving tricks to get your students writing about art?

Have you used technology to streamline your process?


Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Andrew McCormick

Andrew McCormick, a STEAM, PBL, and tech integration specialist, is a former AOEU Writer and middle school art educator.

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