>1. I have always let the students sit where they want and moved seats only
>when I felt their choices didn't work. I could seat them going down the
>alphabet so there are place cards the first day. Another teacher does this.
>Any feedback or ideas?
>2. Last year in Studio Art I asked the students at the end of the year if
>they had any suggestions for next year. They suggested giving more than one
>choice of projects. I'm not sure about this. It's difficult enough
>explaining one project with short periods. What is your experience?
Last year was my first year teaching ART 1 in umpteen years; it was like being a new teacher all over again. As far as the answers to your questions, I decided it would be easier for me to get to know students' names and personalities by having them sit in alphabetical order. My first class was also a homeroom class which required me to take attendance on a program used by our district. Having the kids in alphabetical order and a seating chart with their pictures next to their names helped me tremendously. This was great for substitutes that would come in, too. After I got to know the kids better, I allowed them to sit where they wanted with the understanding that if they weren't behaving in an appropriate manner or not producing enough work or quality work, I would move them where I thought that could be accomplished. I had some moaning because that's just what highschoolers do, but no real complaints. I, too, had mixed grade levels.
I always had at least two projects. One that I required them to do and one that they could do for extra credit if they should finish early. Sometimes my students would come up with some pretty good ideas on how to approach with a similar project of their own and we would negotiate how to structure the project to cover all of the benchmarks I was originally looking for. Each project I assigned I wrote out objectives, resource suggestions, and a rubric which they were required to fill out and turn in with each completed work. Sometimes I also required them to answer a list of questions or provide a written critique or statement about their work or a neighbor's work. These had to be artfully written and use the objectives to support their opinions. That way I didn't get just, "I liked it because it was cool." They had to explain "why" it was cool.
This year I think I will try to present more than one project again, because it does give the kids' a bit more ownership when they get to make the choice. Last year I had to teach both 2-D and 3-D. This year I will be teaching only 2-D. I have to come up with a lot more projects! If you want an overview of my projects last year, just let me know and I'll share with the list. I have gained so much from the awesome talent on this list, I am happy to share while I have time now before school starts. Honestly, there have been times that I have wanted to share, but get caught up in the chaos of day-to-day, and I don't get around to it and I feel terribly about that. So, catch me now!