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Re: [teacherartexchange] high school ceramics questions: beginning the year off right


From: Ken Schwab (bicyclken_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Aug 08 2006 - 16:26:27 PDT

Hi Stacie, Here are my thoughts,
1. Procedures: How should I begin every day? Should I have the students
respond to open ended questions about art in general? What other things can I
have them do every day for the first five minutes or so? Should there be an
end-of-class ritual?

Address the class every day and ask them to be quiet. Tell them the task or objective for each day, write it on the board as well. You can have a doodle going on a page with pen while you are taking roll. Do a watercolor monoprint first day and then have them find things draw into or doodle on this page collect them at semester and give them a grade. Announce cleanup with everyone cleaning their own mess and sink monitors for clean out changed weekly.
2. Sketchbooks: Should I have them keep a sketchbook...maybe have them
respond to a quote or open ended questions or piece of work at the beginning of
class...and have them use it for sketches of their designs? Do you guys make
them sketch out ideas before beginning a ceramic piece?
I give sketchbook assignments to my advanced class and I always have them make a preliminary sketch of their work. This allows you to critique how it looks and gives them direction. Going over how to model form, basic forms and drawing techniques will help. they need to know how to draw before this becomes effective.

3. Cleanup/duties: Should I assign jobs every day or every week? Should I
assign a jobs per class or per table? How do I make the students accountable
and responsible...make sure they do their job?

Assign sinks and table materials weekly and make sure that they are cleaned up before they leave. The bell doesn't dismiss you, I do.
4. First lessons: Should I begin with a history of ceramics, maybe show a
film...then move on to some techniques...start with coil pots, move on to pinch
pots, then pinch pot animals, and then slab work?

Start with a simple pinch pot or coil that will be successful and gain their confidence. If they make something good and are proud of themselves, they will work harder for you. Increase the difficulty as you go and try to build upon what they have learned.
5. How should I grade the work...rubrics?
 Yes, this will cut down on why I got this grade. State the objectives and then use them to make a rubric.
6. Deadlines. Should I have clear deadlines, how do I make them turn their
work in on time? How often should I fire work?

Dead lines are tough, not all kids work at the same rate. I give them one week's grace period to turn in work after I assign a due date.
They must see me and show me their progress and ask for more time, telling me the new due date. Deduct 5 points for every day they are late after this date. They will test you so be firm and then due dates will be important.
7. Class critiques/reflection: What are some successful ways to conduct
class critiques of work...or should groups critique. Do you have them write a
reflection for each project?
Critiques vary a lot with every teacher. I like to choose 6-8 pieces and then discuss and debate the objectives of the unit, creativeness, craftsmanship, and I like it or not based on concrete principles. Then have them write answers to three qusetions that look at the works objectively and subjectively.
8. Should I give quizes, vocabulary?

I quiz my Art 1 kids a lot and tend to have more critiques in Art 2,3,4,
9. What do I do now: I want a sign posted to remind students of the things
they should be doing when they finish early. What kinds of things do you
suggest? Could I have a list of projects they can work on when they finish
projects early? Should I allow them to work on the wheel when they finish early?
They can work on their doodle/ sketchbook. I also have extra credit on charts (color) or excercises, they can read, or do something quietly. I have only a few every year that will rush through things and they seem to find things to do. I am sure other teachers can give you more input than I can.
High School kids like order and routine. They want you to stand by your guns and not back down. They will respect you and want to work for you but show weakness and wishy washy rules and they will take over like Lord of the Flies.
Ken Schwab

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