George Lucas Educational Foundation
Teaching Strategies

Using Personal Student Quotes To Summarize Learning And Understanding

March 23, 2016 Updated March 22, 2016

I am curious if anyone else has used students quotes as tool for understanding what students have learned during the course of a learning experience. I have recently included opportunities for students to provide personal quotes that relate to an essential question or a topic or concept related to the essential question.

For example, I am an art teacher and  my students recently completed a unit where they learned about Gargoyles and Grotesques including their history, their design, their functions, and how they have been represented by artists, and their place in culture. These discussions evolved from an essential question addressing the concept of  cultural beliefs. Throughout the course of the unit students completed  a "Topic Sheet" on "Superstition" that included responses to questions such as "What do you already know about superstition?" "What personal experiences have you had with superstition?" What would you like to know about superstition?" They were also required to draw images related to the topic of superstition. The last requirement for the students was to complete a personal quote that reflects their learning, a new understanding, or a new personal view of the topic. The quote can be serious, funny, profound, etc. as long as it is personal. I recently completed a course about how the brain learns. One of the reoccurring themes was that the learners remember information with greater efficiency if the learning is personal. So I thought a personal quote to summarize their understanding would be an effective method of doing this. A few examples include from "Superstition" include:

"Sometimes beauty is found in something hideous."

“Even though it is ugly, it took a lot of work."

“Structural elements and textures enhance the grotesque immensely."

“Gargoyles are a type of waterspout. Who said gutters aren't cool?"

I really like the quote about the gutters. That demonstrates a new understanding of form, function, and the historical evolution of gutters. I have began incorporation this activity in many of my units with great results. Has anyone else tried this?

For context, I teach visual arts to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students.

This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we’ve preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own.

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  • Creativity
  • Arts
  • 6-8 Middle School

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