Inquiry: How Do Artists Best Express How They Think or Feel?

Illustration Elements

Illustration Éléments


Students were engaged in a free inquiry project. They chose their own essential question, the authentic product they would develop, and the resources they would use. Students developed their own criteria and rubric to self-assess their work and identified the curricular content and core competencies they thought were relevant to their work.

This student decided to explore her artistic abilities through this inquiry. Her essential question was: How do artists best express how they think or feel? She kept an inquiry journal as she worked and competed a reflection form with teacher prompts at the end of the inquiry.

A few months after this assignment was completed, she wrote a myth and created a book illustrated in watercolours. 


Samples Student Work

Artist pictureArtist picture


Student Reflection



I can evaluate and use well-chosen evidence to develop interpretations; identify alternatives, perspectives, and implications; and make judgments. I can examine and adjust my thinking.

I can ask questions and offer judgments, conclusions, and interpretations supported by evidence I or others have gathered. I am flexible and open-minded; I can explain more than one perspective and consider implications. I can gather, select, evaluate, and synthesize information. I consider alternative approaches and make strategic choices. I take risks and recognize that I may not be immediately successful. I examine my thinking, seek feedback, reassess my work, and adjust. I represent my learning and my goals and connect these to my previous experiences. I accept constructive feedback and use it to move forward.



I can get new ideas or reinterpret others’ ideas in novel ways.

I get ideas that are new to my peers. My creative ideas are often a form of self-expression for me. I have deliberate strategies for quieting my conscious mind (e.g., walking away for a while, doing something relaxing, being deliberately playful), so that I can be more creative. I use my experiences with various steps and attempts to direct my future work.


I communicate confidently, using forms and strategies that show attention to my audience and purpose.           

In discussions and conversations, I am focused and help to build and extend understanding. I am an engaged listener; I ask thought-provoking questions when appropriate and integrate new information. I can create a wide range of effective communications that feature powerful images and words, and I identify ways to change my communications to make them effective for different audiences. I use my understanding of the role and impact of story to engage my audiences in making meaning. I acquire information about complex and specialized topics from various sources, synthesize it, and present it with thoughtful analysis.