In Art at Key Stage 3 we try to differentiate in a number of ways, but we feel that personalising learning through ‘level of challenge’ and ‘level of support’ seem to be the most successful methods for us. For the level of challenge, a student is often presented with a task that can be attained in a number of ways– by varying the technique or media. There are, ordinarily, three levels of challenge (green, amber and red) that relate to the difficulty of the media or technique. For example, when drawing the eye, the students may have a choice of drawing media such as 2B pencil (the easiest/most familiar media to use is coded green), black pencil (medium challenge media coded amber) or graphite stick (the hardest media being coded red). The qualities of these materials are discussed and the students must balance this against their perceived strengths and experiences. The selection of the media generates some really interesting discussions and students are really quite clear of the rationale for their choices. In a same vein, outcomes may be differentiated in terms of levels of complexity (techniques used, range of media utilised, composition, sensitivity of application) – see the Year 9 Collage example. Samples of each one will be demonstrated and 3 different stations set up for students to follow instructions and choose which one to do depending on their confidence.
Colour coding can also be used to indicate the level of support that a student requires. Low level support materials (green) could simply be following a demonstration and IWB targets. Medium level support materials (amber) may be laminated broken down step-by-step guide that is either visual or written. High level of support materials (red) may be a larger example, a drawing frame or set of videos that the student can access via the IWB. Take a look at the example explaining level of support on the attached PowerPoint to see how this is used in a ceramics lesson. It is important that students begin to make choices in terms of support materials that they need. If a student encounters difficulty, then they just access the extra support materials provided. These levels of support are discussed with all students in the group to help them access learning. It is appropriate for all children who need to check their process, knowledge and ability to refine work. Students who are a high level in attainment in Art may well want to access red support materials, and this is perfectly fine; it is not a method whereby students have a fixed level of support – it may vary according to the task and information provided. This means that students of all abilities could at one point access all of the levels of support at varying times. Please note that this method also encourages students to independently problem solve and seek solutions as issues arise, under the careful guidance of the teacher.
To see the example powerpoints, go to the T-drive – Teaching and Learning – Personalised Learning – Art resources
Clare Hall, Head of Art