Labeling students work is one of the best ways I know to build literacy in the art room. I think labeling works best in Preschool and Kindergarten. Basically you ask all the students the same question "Tell me about what you're making." Then you try to get the student to elaborate on their first idea. "Tell me more. . . " This eventually will be translated into their future writing skills.
So often I hear "that's nice or how cute!" when parents and teachers talk about student work (I'm guilty of it too though I am trying my best not to say "que lindo!" when talking to my Spanish speaking students.) Now a parent has something to read to their child and start asking questions about their work. It helps students remember just what they were thinking when they were making their piece (improving short term memory.) Some students can even read back their labels because it was their own words! All students want their work labeled because it means the undivided attention of the teacher or mentor the kids sometimes ask "can you write what I'm making" when I forget to.
After making our paper playground sculptures, Kindergarteners drew their dream playground. The mentors (my 5th grade helpers) and I went to every child and labeled their work. What do you think about labels? Do you use them in your classroom? Do you disagree with labeling students work (especially on the work)?