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With high school students I've always had a similar sketchbook arrangment
to yours. Each quarter the books are turned in. There is class work in
them and also outside class assignments. Many of the assignments are to
collect pictures on given themes (i.e. during pen and ink projects I
assigne pen and ink samples)--which I consider pretty easy stuff. Just
like you, I remind and remind. Some kids turn up the day the book is due
and try to do the entire book in class under their desk so I won't see it,
even though I have told them class time will not be permitted for this.
While we'd all like to see every child succeed, some won't. It takes a
long time for kids to learn that some of the responsibility of their
education (and their grades) falls on them. Some will never learn, but
most will get the idea by the time they graduate high school. I discuss
the importance of the sketchbook as an artist's tool and its part in my
grading scheme at length at the beginning of the year. There are no
surprises and parents know exactly what's going on.
I like to use my own sketchbooks and those of famous artists (Leonardo for
one) as models. Once kids see the potential of a sketchbook, they might be
willing to spend a bit more time on it and make some personal investment
into it. Some of the ones I get are masterpieces with fabulous lettering
and page designs. Stressing the personal nature of the book and its value
in working out ideas, feelings and visual experiments seems to really help.
Encourage them to collect images for the book that have personal meaning
Grading all those book is a real nightmare, but I continue to do it. I
deduct en entire letter grade for each day the book is late (except for