Oh, I love this thread, too. Those few and far between moments where
everyone is just coloring or they completely know what to do and just need
time. I love to read aloud and kids love my funny voices. David Holt's
Anthology of tall tales, "Ready to Tell Tales" is WONDERFUL for times like
that. Some hilarious stories in there. ANd terrific voices, and the
length is just right to read and finish one, then walk around a minute,
then read some more. I tell the kids to pretend I'm a record player. If I
catch them watching me instead of working, the record player will stop.
It works really well, also to settle a restless bunch when you feel like
they are not working fast enough, been coloring too long, but you don't
want them to stop, and so on.
Other things I do when they are absorbed and I am free of them:
load/unload a kiln
make a clay demo
photograph them or their work
clean up something that bugs me
put up new artwork or mount artwork
Sometimes I also do an assessment...a really quick one, and they don't
usually work very well because someone always interrupts it and I forget
someone. Also, I don't like them to fret about what I'm writing down
about them. I usually do my best grading when they are not there.
Another thing....grading. I have to write 220 comments a year, and I try
to assign criteria to each project that details work habits,
understanding, risk taking, craftsmanship, going beyond, and so on. I
think I have a system that works pretty well. I think about the criteria
that I want to include in a particular assessment, and I assign numbers to
each of the criteria. For example:
1- demonstrates understanding of using value
2- is trying to use different values, but still struggling with concept
3- is making no attempt to use different values, despite requests and
and so on...for all of the criteria for each project I am looking at.
These criteria and numbers are at the bottom of my class list (that I use
for grading, too:} Next to each child's name, I just add the numbers from
below and a BRIEF comment if warranted. It makes it really easy to go
back and write comments at grading time, and the average of the criteria
numbers for each project is usually their grade. I'd be interested to
hear what others do about simplifying grades and comments.