> I am curious about how many of you teach "one project at a time" and how many
> of you give your students a list of projects that they choose from (in other
> words, they are given a syllabus for the whole 6 weeks or semester).
> I am changing schools and the teacher I will be replacing taught by giving a
> syllabus and the students worked at their own pace for the whole grading
> period. The plus is that all should be working (none finished early) and
> they are given some choices.
"Should be working" is the operative phrase. For a college class this
would be great, but the motivation in HS is different. I would like to
see how much quality work this teacher's students are putting out. In
my experience most HS students don't have the intrinsic motivation to
complete that much work independently.
I also wonder how the teacher goes about teaching her lessons. Does she
include any art history or criticism along the way? How does she go
about demonstrating techniques if the class working on several different
projects? Do you think her curric is meeting standards? Are the
students truly learning about art, or just cranking out projects with no
understanding of the media, techniques, historical exemplars, etc.
> I am also thinking of
> giving a daily participation grade to discourage the early finishers.
Hmm-mmm, I wouldn't call it "discouraging"--how about "slowing them
down?" Some students can whip out a great piece quickly. Are they
coasting on native talent without being challenged? You can push them
by raising the bar a bit higher. I tell my naturally talented students
that I am going to push them more than the others because they have the
talent to do more; and with that comes privileges like working with
different media that the others aren't using. If students are whipping
through assignments just to complete them, you can point out the
criteria for the assignment and which criteria they haven't met. My
fall-back tactic is to let the chronic early-finishers know--very
sweetly, of course--that as soon as they're done, I've got some cleaning
chores I'd like for them to do. ;)