Project 3: Teaching Observations (due 4/11) • 20 points of course grade

Observation Options:

1. SCHOOLS OPTION: Visit a public school and spend an equivalent of one school day observing classes, art classes if possible. This may be done in groups of 2-5 students to allow for shared transportation and different foci of observations. Attached is a growing list of local art teachers willing to have you visit or you may visit classes in another district where you have contacts. As dates and times are confirmed by you with the teacher let me know so that no others ask for that date and time if the teacher prefers only one A ED 101S student at a time. Some teachers ask that I provide the list of students, dates, & times based on their schedules that they provide rather than to be contacted directly by students (see the attached list). To meet and schedule directly with State College Area School District (SCASD) art teachers come to the HUB at the Robeson Gallery on Monday, February 20, 2006, at 10 a.m. This is also a chance to talk with the SCASD teachers about their student work exhibited at the HUB. The exhibition ends on March 3, 2006. Even if you can not attend on Monday 2/20/06, then stop by the HUB to check out the SCASD student work exhibited prior to your classroom observations.

2. MUSEUM OPTION: Observe a Docent class at the Palmer Museum of Art. They occur on the second and fourth Mondays of the month from 10:00 am to noon and consist of a business meeting (news, updates, tour scheduling, etc.) from 10 to 11 and a continuing education session from 11 to Noon. The museum is closed on Mondays and you will therefore need to "buzz in" at the door on the far right. Just press the "security" button. You are invited to observe on any of the following days:

Docent Calendar Spring 2006

13- Docent business meeting and continuing education: New Perspectives: An Academic Selection of Works on Paper and European Modernism by Patrick McGrady, Charles V. Hallman Curator.

27- Docent business meeting and continuing education: New docent presentations.

13- Docent business meeting and continuing education: New docent presentations.

27- Docent business meeting and continuing education: Picturing the Banjo with Leo Mazow, curator of American Art.

10- Docent business meeting and continuing education: Issues in registration/conservation at the Palmer Museum with Bev Sutley, registrar.

24- Docent business meeting and end-of-year reception.

Observations of Art Education in Action

This observation is designed to support you in, finding your own teaching voice, composing your own teacher identity and philosophy of art education, and connect in-class learning with the real world of art education in action. You should note the difference between looking at teaching and observing specific behaviors and practices. You are not to passively watch but rather effectively observe and experience the class through detailed written documentation.

A major part of observation is reflection. You need to think about and process what you see and hear. One way to accomplish this is to journal before and after the observation. This is an ideal opportunity to learn through watching, listening, and reflecting on what is seen and heard. The purpose of this observation is not to critique the host art teacher but rather to notice the practice and content of art education, ways child(ren) engaged in the class, and make connections to in-class learning and readings. 

Focus on One or More Roles in Teaching Observations:

Role 1. Visually describe the school building, and classroom (give us the larger context). Describe how the art supplies are set up for distribution. Describe what the art supplies comprise. Observe the teacher's presentation and student responses, activity, and reactions. Describe the interactions among students, and between teacher and students. Focus on one individual making art. Describe clean-up procedures. Afterwards describe in writing these key foci: (1) types of nonverbal interactions, (2) the content that the teacher intended to teach & (3) the teaching strategies used. Present using "thick description" to support your analysis. What were the expectations of the class in relation to students’ role, teachers’ role, quality of artmaking, ideas, and expression? What teaching strategies did the teacher use? (lecture, discussion, technology, demonstration, activities, etc.).

Role 2. Do the art lesson with the children, not as a teacher, but as a student or "budding" artist. Join their line to get the supplies (if that is the procedure) and sit among them. Ask the teacher before class where you should sit and if you can participate in this way. Afterwards describe in writing what you did in detail, how you felt, and what you learned. Also, reflect in writing on what you think the curricular orientation was & the art traditions most valued in this lesson. Save your art for the presentation. Describe the student(s) who you observed (use aliases to ensure students’ confidentiality). How was the class structured in relation to time, routines, and shared understandings? What was and how did the teacher make the purpose and relevance of the lesson apparent?

Role 3. Record student and teacher verbal exchanges. Prepare a matrix (columns) on several papers before observation: (use the matrix categories listed below)
Time Starts: Time Ends: Teacher Says: To Whom: Student Says: To Whom: Speaking Volume:
Afterwards, analyze the notes according to: (1) the length of time the teacher talked (to individual, to class), (2) the students talked (to each other, to teacher), and (3) type of content (facts, questions, history, critical dialogue, art making instructions, etc.). Color code matrix notes to analyze. Show at least one color coded matrix page during the presentation to support analysis.

Role 4. Take an inventory of the teaching context.
Describe: (1) Student population in class (number, grade/age, gender, etc.); (2) time frames of distinct parts to the lesson; (3) visuals, materials, supplies, equipment in room & used for lesson; (4) classroom rules & observed classroom management techniques; (5) annual art supply budget (ask the teacher); (6) lesson and unit plan (if available) and (7) other information (such as choices of exemplars, samples, books, posters, art supplies, etc.) that you think would be helpful to know about for teaching art. Afterwards, prepare a handout for the class members that help you present the above 7 inventory areas.

Role 5. Watch the movement that occurs. Draw a map of the room in pencil. Label areas. (This person may want to come 15 minutes before the lesson begins.) Trace over pencil lines with a black thin marker to indicate main objects. Use overhead transparencies over the drawing and at regular intervals (every 5 or 10 minutes) use colored marker lines and/or dots to indicate where the students and teacher are located on your map. Use dots if a person is in one place or broken lines if they are moving from one place to another. Afterwards, interpret the movement patterns. (How much time in one place or moving? What were the purposes of the movement? Was the movement teacher or student directed?) Present using the visuals to support your analysis.

Overarching Reflection Questions about the Observations:

1. Understanding: Connect new understanding with in-class learning, readings, personal experiences and opinions about art education.

2. Analysis: Compare and contrast what you have learned in class with what you observed.

3. Synthesis: How have your views of art education been affected by this observation?

4. Evaluation: What aspects of your observation will contribute to your teaching philosophy and teacher identity?

PRESENTATION: In April (4/11, 4/13, & 4/18) you will have an opportunity to discuss your reflections and analysis of your observation with others in the class in order to gain multiple perspectives about teaching art. In a 10 min. presentation discuss the teaching context and what you learned from your observation and analysis. Each presenter should focus on their "afterwards analysis" and reflections. Include additional topics regarding what else was found particularly useful, inspiring, &/or areas that you have concerns.

PAPER: Papers are due on April 11. Observation documentation should accompany the final polished paper that addresses one or more or the observation roles "afterwards" analysis processes and the 4 reflection questions. Include an introductory paragraph that explains the purpose of the paper, a body which includes evidence supporting your responses, and a closing paragraph that states your conclusions. There is an undergraduate writing center available on campus if needed. Also broad guidelines for writing are linked here.

Evaluation Rubric for PROJECT #3: Observation of Teaching
We will develop the grading rubrics together as we did for Project 1.



  Criteria C grade
(15 points)
B grade
(17 points)
A grade
(20 points)
Adequate Proficient Excellent

Paper (10 of 20 points)

6 points for a thoughtful, insightful, and an indepth exploration of the areas of understanding, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

2 points for supporting views with references to conducting an indepth observation role(s).

2 points for grammar, layout, and formatting, i.e., quality of writing as described in assignment 2.

Answers only 2 of the 4 areas thoroughly, or most but not thoroughly. Has minimal support evidence from an indepth observation role.

Answers 3 areas thoroughly, or all but not thoroughly and/or has a few grammar problems. Has some depth with support evidence from an indepth observation role(s).


Answers all 4 areas thoroughly. Supports evidence from an indepth observation role(s).

Well organized with a clear purpose, evidence and support, as well as a clear conclusion.

Quality of writing is clear with few writing errors, none of which seriously undermine the effectiveness of the paper.

Ideas or quotes from readings properly cited.


Presentation (10 of 20 points)

5 points if the presentation is an organized summary that follows the paper's content.

5 points if present self with openness and attentiveness to audience, speaks clearly with eye contact, and responds knowledgeable to teacher and peer questions.

Misses some content areas or presentation seems fragmented, or does not engage audience with full self presence and enthusiasm about findings.

Covers all 4 areas but some points not a convincing argument supported by interview or resource review, or is not a clearly organized summary, or is unable to answer questions, or does not present in a way that engages audience.

Excellent presentation of self and content that convincingly presents the 4 areas of the paper with about 3 or 4 minutes left of the 10 minutes for a question or two from the audience in which response shows familiarity with the areas of understanding, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

Students who are enrolled in A ED 101S for spring semester 2006 need to apply for the following clearances so that they will be ready to observe in the schools during the semester.

CLEARANCES REQUIRED FOR A ED 101S (follow College of Education's clearance instructions listed below)


 Follow instructions carefully to prevent delays. Only photocopies of ALL clearances and verifications will be accepted.  KEEP ALL ORIGINALS IN A  SAFE PLACE!

You must provide proof of such coverage to the course instructor of the related field experience.  The  policy purchased must be applicable to teaching situations, and must cover the specific situations which will be  present during your field exercise.  Such coverage may or may not be termed "professional liability" insurance, depending upon the carrier or organization which issues the policy.  It is your responsibility to choose an appropriate policy and to make a determination as to the amount of coverage.  In this regard, we recommend that  you contact the institution which coordinates your program in order to determine specific requirements.  The College of Education does not specifically endorse nor recommend any particular insurance carrier or insurance  policy.  However, the following are provided for your convenience, as options which you may wish to consider.
Liability insurance may be available as an endorsement, for an additional fee, to a renter's or homeowner's insurance policy. You may also procure a separate liability insurance policy from a private insurance policy. If you  choose to pursue such options, you should carefully investigate the terms of the policy and speak with your insurance agent in order to ensure that the policy is applicable to your field activities.
You may also wish to consider coverage which is provided by professional associations. The Student  Pennsylvania State Education Association's annual membership fee ($25.00) includes $1 million of liability protection, which is applicable to classroom situations.  SPSEA membership enrollment forms are available from  the campus chapter of SPSEA (228 Chambers).  However, students are strongly urged to apply online at  <> for prompt registration.  The yearly membership is concurrent with the academic school year (Sept. 1-Aug 30).  
Insurance is also available through the Professional Liability Protection Plan for Student Teachers.  This  benefit is available through membership in one of sixty sponsoring educational associations, and is offered by the  Trust for Insuring Educators, administered by Forrest T. Jones & Co.  A list of sponsoring associations and  applications are available on-line at <>.

Pennsylvania laws require all employees of public and private schools to acquire criminal history clearance (Act 34) and child abuse history clearance (Act 151) prior to employment.  Many school districts require volunteers and  others working directly with children to have these clearances.  Accordingly, the College of Education requires all  students enrolled in field experiences to have both Act 34 and Act 151 clearances.


Application can be submitted online with a credit card at:; THIS IS THE RECOMMENDED PROCEDURE FOR APPLYING! History record (if clear) comes up on screen immediately; print it out as your evidence.
OR application forms can be downloaded at:

 See documents, Brochures & Forms, then PSP Form Available to Public; open "attached file" pdf on bottom of page.  Indicate EMPLOYMENT as the "Reason for Request"

For mailed form, allow 6-8 weeks for processing

For mailed form, payment must be made with certified check or money order (keep your receipt as


Application forms can be downloaded at:

   See Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance Form

    Indicate SCHOOL as the "Purpose of Clearance"

OR application forms can be picked up in 182 Chambers
For mailed form, payment must be made with certified check or money order (keep your receipt!)
For mailed form, allow 6-8 weeks for processing
This clearance takes the greatest amount of time to process; do not delay!

In compliance with regulations of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the PSU Curriculum and Instruction  Field Experiences Office requires students enrolled in all field experiences to present proof of a negative T.B. test  prior to beginning any field experience. You may have the test administered by your family doctor or at the Ritenour Health Center.  Since skin tests must be read 48 hours after administration, schedule your test to ensure  that the health facility will be open for your follow-up visit.  Students who test positively because of previous  health conditions must submit proof of x-ray examinations.
Verification of a negative TB Test by either personal physician or University Health Center;  students MUST make an appointment at the Health Center, and should be aware that it may  NOT be possible to schedule an appointment the first week of the semester!
Allow 2-3 days for reading test

Students who prove positive must submit proof of x-ray examination and clearance by physician

Signed copies of the Guest Host Form indicate your agreement to abide by the governing principles of your  field experience host.   It also indicates your understanding that, should your personal and professional behavior  not be compatible with the expectations of the host school, you could be dismissed from the school and the field experience.  This form can be downloaded from the CIFE website at

NOTE: FBI CRIMINAL RECORD CHECK (Discontinued effective 9/9/02 - No longer required for out-of-state  students)