Visual Understanding: VoiceThread

Critique Exercise

In order to successfully guide my students to understand how to critique better, I decided to make a voice thread. A voice thread is a presentation with images and voice overs as another way to teach. I have decided to make a voice thread of a critique exercise because I believe it will be good practice for students to understand and look at the image as I speak. This also can be done individually on their own time so every student can get access to this presentation. What makes this also a neat tool is if I decide to have students do their own voice thread, they can add it onto my presentation and voice over their art piece. This would be a great way for all students to see there students work and see what they have done.

The first step to coming up with this idea was how I was going to approach the exercise. I wanted it to be collaborative and individual. So introducing students to voice thread, they can do a critique on an artist they chose to be talked about after they have gone through my presentation and add onto it. Next I created steps to guide students to understand how to critique by approaching the work differently every time they look at it using a four step sequence:

  1. Description: Have students make a list of all the things they see in the work without making any kind of judgment about the work.
  2. Analysis: Have the students pay close attention to which art elements the artist used.
  3. Interpretation: Have the students explain or tell the meaning or mood of the work. However, have them base this interpretation on what they’ve concluded in the first two steps.
  4. Judgment: Have students decide whether design qualities and expressive qualities was successful by pointing out where in the piece to support their decision.

Throughout the presentation, they will have to write everything about the piece to guide them to further interpret the piece. After They have gone through the presentation, They can look back at their notes and see how much they have discovered in a single piece and from their understanding what it can possibly mean.

After they have completed this exercise, they should be able to understand the steps to critiquing a piece.

Click the link below for further instructions:


Disciplinary Text-Sets


Giving students a few activities such as reading about art can guide students to understand art better. My focus on teaching students about how to critique art work will bring grater discussion in my classroom and students will be able to use art terms through visuals.

Text#1: Postmodern Principles

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This text explains the postmodern principles with text and visual images of each principle subject.

This text isn’t too lengthy, easy to read with broken paragraphs explaining each principle with visual examples. What’s nice about this text is not only does it go over the principle and explains what it is but it also explains why it is used and how it is used. This will help students understand why artist make art a certain way and what it means to use it in that way. Once thing that I will do to make sure students are understanding this text is to go through each principle, stop and explain it with other examples other than the ones given in the text. That way students will not have to feel they are the only one not understanding the text.


  • Appropriation
  • Juxtaposition
  • Recontextualization
  • Layering
  • Interaction with Text & Image
  • Hybridity
  • Gazing
  • Representin

An activity that can be done with the students get into groups and work on an example piece of the given principle to be presented in front of the class. Having an activity like this will help students understand what the principle means and understand that it can do to  piece of art.


Text#2: Principles of Possibility 

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This text gives a great information about the another type of way to form art.

This text is little lengthy with broken paragraphs but it can be shorten down by having each group of students read them and be explained. Having these guidelines of principles can help students discuss with each other about their work during a critique.


  • Playing
  • Forming Self
  • Investigating Community Themes
  • Encountering Difference
  • Attentive Living
  • Empowered Experiencing
  • Empowered Making
  • Deconstructing Culture
  • Reconstructing Social Spaces
  • Not Knowing

An activity that can be done with the students are having small group discussions and every group will get a picture of each principle. They will talk it through as a group and present what principle they are and why and explain the principle is. This activity will make the class more interactive and students will be able to learn better that way.

Text#3: Art Elements & Principles of Design

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This text reviews the basic art elements and principles made up in art works.

This text is not lengthy as all. It is direct and easy to read with lots of examples and well defined text for students to understand it quickly. Having this text will guide students to use easy terms like these when critiquing each others work and it will also bring rich discussion amongst the class.


  • Line
  • Space
  • Form
  • Shape
  • Color
  • Value
  • Texture
  • Empathy
  • Balance
  • Pattern
  • Movement
  • Rhythm
  • Unity
  • Scale/Proportion

A great activity that can be done with the students and having them do their own examples in their sketchbook journals of each element and principle. This can be done on the first week of school that way it will become like their own little dictionary when they are using it when making their art work. This can later be used when they are critiquing their own work and others.

Text#4: smART Kids

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This is more of an activity for students that lets then read and see art on the computer.

The text is not too lengthy giving students direct information about the art piece and lets them have little fun. By having this interactive game students will have more fun reading and see that it is like to critique a work from what they are reading and the information they are getting from the art work.

A post activity that can be done with this is having students picking one art piece they find the most interesting and sharing it with the class as a small report of what they have learned, what types of elements and principles it contains, and using other art terms they have learned from the readings.

Another activity I would probably do with the students would be taking them to the art museum after this mini activity so they will see more work, take notes on piece they enjoyed and choose one to report back in class, that way I know they are learning and are using the art terms.

Text#5: KEEMO’s Art Blog


This blog is based on an artist nicknamed  KEEMO. His blog contains his work inspired by everyday activities.

This blog isn’t too lengthy which gives students a chance to enjoy reading his blogs about his work because it is more story based and are really fun to read about why he decided to make his art based on that particular event that just happened. Having a blog for students to read gives them something they understand in everyday language and just enjoy seeing the work.

An activity I would do with the students would be to make an artwork based on an event in their life relating back to KEEMO’s ideas and incorporating his style into their piece. They will play with the art elements, principles, postmodern and so one that can be used of art terms. This will all tie back to all the readings. In the end the critique will bring so much fun and inspiration while using the terms they have all learned about.

These texts tie well together because it involves the students to really look and see the detail in pieces when learning more about art in all. Understanding the principles and design elements, it will comes from the art they are seeing everyday. By going through these text, students will be able to use their knowledge from the readings to discuss it in their work then they submit a self reflective and/or critique others work. In the end, students will have a grater knowledge of the art making.

Where I Am, And Where I Want To Go: Critiquing Artworks


As I grow to become an Art Educator, I have learned to create ways to guide my previous students to understand the techniques and see the art world. Although technique and exposing them to the art world is important, I would like to dig deeper into creating new ways to guide my future students to understand the art making. I believe teaching my future students how to critique and interpret art works is important to have to an art classroom because it will create a deep and rich conversation amongst the students to understand the a better understanding of the art work and open their eyes to greater meaning.

A great technique that I have learned to get students to critique art work is asking them:

What do you see?

What do you think it means?

What is the message?

During my previous experience working with students on an art lesson, I have taught them to look at the art work and tell me what they see, this is the first step to critiquing art works. By doing this group activity with the students, it lets them all participate without feeling like they are wrong because it is all about what they see in the piece. After I was able to get them to feel more comfortable with looking and talking about artworks, the next step was asking the students, what do you think it means? Fewer students were unable to figure out what it the meaning of the piece was because they did not want to give the wrong answer. After a few students gave their opinion, I asked them what the message of the piece is and even less students responded to the question. This was when I realized I had to find a new and creative way to get students to start understanding how to interpret work before i start asking them these questions.

During the next teaching session, I have decided to have the art work in the front with the artist’s interpretation of his work to get student’s minds working. First, I had them look at the art piece on the first side in their small groups and write down as much as they see and know about the piece. After they have discussed what they wrote down from their journals they can flip to the back side where they can read the artist’s interpretation. By doing this, I though it would help the students slowly understand how to see the piece.

Even though I was able to find a new way to give students the idea of critique and interpretation, I would like to figure out what to do next? I want to get students to dig deeper. What I did was just to get students the idea of what it can be like but I don’t want students to think I will always provide them with the meaning of the work. So what I need to figure out is how to help students interpret work and understand what it is to critique art work without always having these flash cards posters I have for them.

After a few researching I have found a few resources to guide me to answer my questions: