> Mark, I applaud the amount of energy you put into using sketchbooks, which I
> feel is a very important tool for artists and art students. I work as a
> professional artist with many other professional artists, and they all keep
> some form of sketchbooks as a tool for working out visual problems, recording
> ideas, etc. I'm into my third year of trying to make sketchbooks an important
> part of my curriculum, and this year I seem to have hit on something that
> works--at least with this group of students. I usually give an assignment
> "homework" if you will, on Wed. or Th. and go over it in class to make sure
> everyone understands it and asks questions. The assignment usually reflects
> projects we are working on in class, and is not a particularly difficult one.
> I am primarialy trying to get them to put their visual symbols on paper. The
> assignment is due on the following Monday and they are to put their books on
> my desk as they enter the room--to prevent them from madly scratching
> something in during class. If the assignment is turned in on time and is
> anywhere near what I was asking for, they get 100, complete but meidiocre or
> haphazardly done, they get a 90, partially done--80, not done at all--0.
> Turned in late, drops 10 points for each day turned in late. The sketchbook
> counts 20% of their overall grade. I make no calls to remind them, it comes
> out in their grade printouts they receive every couple of weeks.
> My assignments have arranged from everything from full pages of "doodle
> drawings"--patterns, to lessons on elements and principles, to simple still
> lifes, to self-portraits and drawing facial features.
> I hope this helps some. Keep up the good work, but don't make a big deal of
> running after to remind them. I much rather put my energy into planning
> exciting classroom projects, ordering supplies, grading projects, and all the
> other countless jobs we have rather than standing on my head to get them to do
> a "homework" assignment. They should have some responsibility in this! If
> they don't do it, they should face the consequences. One thought, if it means
> so many "F's", perhaps you could look at changing the percentage of what the
> sketchbooks count in your overall grading procedure.
> Didn't mean to ramble. Good luck!