By Pat Kerner, Upper Elementary Division Art Teacher
Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, I was extremely active in Girl Scouts. One of the joys of scouting was earning badges. Badging required me to fulfill a variety of criteria, skills, goals, and objectives in all areas of life. From drawing and painting to sewing and photography, I learned skills that are the basis for my teaching career to this day! Earning badges and awards (specifically the First Class award, which is equivalent to the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout award) and receiving them validated the skills I had acquired.
When Early Elementary Division Art Teacher Nina Chamberlain, my teaching associate at the time, returned from the 2015 National Art Education Association conference held in New Orleans, she brought back the idea of “badging” to our art classroom. I was totally on board with using them within the Choice Art studios! She hand-drew more than 100 badges for our 10 studios. We had a “soft opening” last year, awarding the badges to students who demonstrated specific skills with materials, techniques, or concepts in the studios. A big THANK YOU to Nina! Thank you for sharing your talent. I couldn’t have done it without you!
This year, I have taken the art of badging to the next level. I have developed learning progressions in each of the 10 studios. After demonstrating their skill and earning specific badges and fulfilling the criteria in a studio, students can earn a “ribbon” that signifies their attainment of the skills at that level of the learning progression. The green ribbon is for “Novice,” the yellow ribbon is for “Emerging,” the red ribbon is for “Proficient,” and the blue ribbon is for “Advanced.” In some studios, such as the architecture studio, I have changed the names of the levels to reflect historical terminology: Novice, Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master Architect.
Students have enthusiastically embraced the earning of badges and ribbons, and I am finding their motivation and engagement have increased. Many students are determined to earn all of the badges and subsequent ribbons in a studio to become a master of their craft!
Little did I know that when I was a Junior, Cadette, and Senior Girl Scout that badging would come full circle and become a focus for my work with students in the arts!
Article Photos by Pat Kerner, Art by Nina Chamberlain