• Dear Parents of Sixth Graders: From Mrs. Nelson
    It is so nice to see you during our open houses and conferences. I am, as always, impressed by your deep commitment to your children and their education. Here are some items and tidbits that you may find helpful about art in 6th grade. 
    **HAC (Home Access Center) is updated by me usually towards the end of each quarter, as the meetings for 6th grade classes are still not every day but once every 3 days.
    **I will grade every endeavor that comes down the pike. I will give your child credit for anything done at home as an extension of what we did in school ( i.e. they make a loom out of a box and bring it in to show the class). I usually don’t give credit for something I never see or something that was done years ago, when your child was in first grade.

    **I grade according to the standards set by your child. If they haven’t improved in a particular area but still are far advanced according to the rest of the class, their grade may not be excellent. If their work doesn’t seem as accomplished as the person who’s been drawing for 1,000 years, yet is showing improvement, I will give your child the credit she is due based on her improvement.
    **I will encourage self evaluation. After a failed attempt at a particular project I will give credit if they understand the failure as a learning process and still feel as though they learned/advanced in an area. When my art students do poorly it is often because they were having technical difficulties with their behavior. I ask students to do things over explaining why it is not complete or worthy of the student’s efforts.
    **I will coach my students through any failure they may perceive in their art making process.  With this new frontal lobe activity comes great awareness of what could be and realization that they aren't perfect.  As the teacher I want to show them that they are in a process of developing their art and to enjoy or at least appreciate the journey.
    **Here is my grading scale. I average all the grades, giving one average for each marking quarter. These numbers are all “out of a possible” ten.
    10 (out of 10)...............A+, at a college level
    9.9-9.8" .............A+, at a high school level
    9.7-9.2 “ .......................A, at a sixth to ninth grade level
    9.1-9.0 “ ........................A-, “
    8.9-8.8 “ ........................B+, “
    8.7-8.0 “ ........................B, “
    7.9-7.8 “ ........................C+ “
    7.4-7.0 “ ........................C, “
    6.9-6.5 “ ........................D, “
    6.4-1.0 “ ........................Failing and required to do over

    I always talk to my students about these levels. I believe in the developmental process of art and that art is not linear, some people do the work of a high school student in one area and then the work of a sixth grader in another.
    **I look for two things in determining (assigning) a grade for a piece of art:
    **Grasping the objective, understanding (or wanting, trying to) the main idea. This would be like the machine part of ourselves.
    **Creatively going one step further, or owning the idea, the objective. Coming up with a new (at least to the student) innovative way of using that objective. This, I would call the “Human” part of the art lesson.
    **Ask previous art students about printmaking and they will tell you about my need for telephone books (old ones). Ask the 6th graders who will bang away at metal foil every afternoon. We use them for paper mache.  They’re smaller, easier to handle, and the ink that is on them isn’t as messy as that found on newspaper paper.  Yarn (or sweaters and ponchos you never finished making for the kids) is always welcome.  We'll unravel and use to weave.
    **Please check the mnms 6th grade art site and ask your child to show you their art site when they begin to develop it (October?).  It will be rich with goals, reflections and images.  You might get a better response to what is going on in school with, "What's on your art site?" than, "Whadya do in school today?"
    **In years past I’ve had parents come to visit the art room and show their arts/crafts to several of the classes that have art in room 138. This visit not only helps celebrate American Education Week, it provides an opportunity for students to see and talk to someone who delves into the materials they worked with on a regular basis. Please check the mnms 6th grade art site and ask your
    **If you have a skill/interest that you might want to share with us, please contact me, jmn11@scasd.org.  That would also go for donations of any material as long as there is no mold or sticky yogurt left on it (sorry).
    There are lots of opportunities to show artwork and to make art with me during after school workshops and around town.  I usually advertise in school on our announcements and in art class but please contact me if your child is more of the silent/quiet type of artist.  I will draw them out (no pun intended).
    ** If you made it this far through my notes-thank you so much!  There is so much to tell you about this wonderful time I get to spend with your child :) 
Last Modified on August 28, 2017