Token Response Critique

This is a classic critique activity that students (even cool high school kids) actually enjoy doing! They love giving feedback to other students in such a visual and active way. This is a great activity to get them up out of their seats and actually seeing other students work. When time is up they love to get back to their seats and count up all of their tokens!

Lesson Level:

  • Middle School Beginning
  • Middle School Advanced
  • High School Beginning
  • High School Advanced


Token Response Critique

CA Content Standards:

  • 4.0 Aesthetic Valuing

Art History & Vocab:

Critique, Constructive Criticism, Art Criticism


Copies of the Token Response Sheet
Tokens (8 different shapes)


This critique involves 8 shapes or tokens that correspond to responses on a handout. Each student has a set of tokens and a handout. They travel around the room and view classmate’s artwork laid out around the room or on their desks. Students will drop a token next to an artwork that they feel meets one of the responses on their own sheet. Once the token is dropped, students will write a short response on why they chose that artwork for that token. You may want to go over what an acceptable written response should look like. No incomplete sentences, abbreviated language, etc.

My students usually took about 10-15 mins to go around the room and place their tokens. Larger classes may take longer. When students are back in their seats have them total up all of their different tokens. After viewing their totals, on the back of the sheet, have them write a paragraph why they thought they received the tokens they did. I usually have them grade themselves using a rubric on the back as well, but that is up to you.

Here are the tokens and their responses that I used in my classroom. Feel free to change up the images you use and categories to fit your style of teaching and what works for your students. I have found that the Needs Work Response is the most difficult one to assign an appropriate Token to. You want to foster constructive criticism without making a student feel bad. At the lower levels (Middle School or Freshman) you may want to remove this token.

  • Positive Preference (Happy Face) I like this because…
  • Needs Work (Hammer) This artwork still needs…
  • Other’s Preference (House) I think others might want this in their home because…
  • Time (Hour Glass) I think this took a long time to make because…
  • Money (Dollar Bill) I think this is worth a lot of money because…
  • Craftsmanship (Hand) I think this is well crafted because…
  • Originality (Light Bulb) I think this is a very original idea because…
  • Judgement (#1 Ribbon) I think this is the best artwork in the group because…

I have included a blank handout that allows you to draw your own shapes for the critique:

TokenResponse <– click to view and then download

You can cheat on making the tokens, but come on we are Art teachers, we should make our own right? But if you don’t have the time and if you have the funds, you can purchase a token response set here at Nasco.

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