For my sketchbook assignments, I think that the most important thing is to keep the kids interested in working...they are often put off by drawing constantly from life because it is frustrating to those kids who don't think they are "good at it" I started off the year with having the kids decorate their sketchbooks covers so that it becomes something that they enjoy carrying around and using. Then I have them create an Art Reference Binder, beginning with 10 different subject areas of pictures that have caught their eye. The first drawing asignment is to draw from their reference binder, that way they are already interested in the subject matter. Throughout the rest of the year I alternate between working from observation and imagination. I also have them create a type of "scrapbook" over their vacations...that has been a popular assignment. At the middle school level, I find that the kids are very egocentric, so anything centered around themselves and their interests will keep them interested in drawi
ng. I am still very new to teh art profession, so I am still figuring things out as I go along...but this has worked so far. Hope this was helpful.
Also...for those of you who had written about the clay mandalas...my digital camera broke right after I offered to send the pictures. It has been fixed, so I will send them out over the next week...sorry for the long wait!
Kara in Northport