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High school sketchbooks (long)


From: Jane (jpawlow2_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Jul 25 2004 - 10:49:23 PDT


I do require sketchbooks in my high school classes. The work varies and is
still being adjusted depending upon the class. For my first year students
(studio one) I stopped beating my head against the wall and now only use the
sketchbooks to augment class assignments and to help reinforce the
elements/principles. The sketchbook becomes a study guide at the end of the
year for our district's art assessment. Studio One classes do not take their
book home.

My studio two classes, on the other hand, do complete a sketchbook for a
quarterly grade. I generally require that the work look like it takes some
effort - minimum of 30 minutes. In an effort to really promote the
sketchbooks if the work shows effort the student gets full credit. The
assignments that are done outside the class are given out quarterly. I hand
out the entire quarter's assignment at once so the students can pace
themselves. This helps eliminate the " I'm working or have a big test also
on Friday" I realize the students do have other work, don't we all but I
want them to take the art work seriously. Generally I give 8 assignments
per quarter. Right before holidays I always give an open or student choice
but otherwise the drawings are specific in topic and often in material or

One thing I may expand on this year is what I have done for the last
quarter. I have given a list of potential subjects and told the students
they could work on one theme all quarter or an assortment of themes. I had a
lot of positive feedback on this from the students. I am not sure if it
would be good for the entire year though.

I require the sketchbooks be shown to me weekly and when they are late I
take 10 points off per week. Periodically I tell the students that they can
submit everything without penalty to encourage them to make up work. The
total sketchbook grade counts as 20% of their quarterly grade.

I ask for a spiral sketchbook. I always check out the local art supply
stores and price them prior to the school year. They usually cost approx. $5
for a 9" x 12" sketchbook. This year I am toying with the idea of the
journal/sketchbook and may ask for hard covered books that cost around $10.
For students who truly cannot afford the sketchbooks I offer them cheaper
alternatives and if I have any extra books I do give them to the students. I
discourage loose sketchbook pages and tell students that if they do
something on another paper to glue it into their books. I want the students
to keep the books. College portfolio reviews often ask for sketchbooks and
this way I know the students have quality work in a sketchbook.

It is very important that the students do the outside assignments. It gives
them an opportunity to do work that is not precious, that can be an
experiment. Since I grade on effort, not final product, the sketchbook is
offered as a way to bring grades up. To get 100 on the sketchbook means the
student did the assignments and spent 30 minutes/week on art outside of

Not all of the teachers in the school require sketchbooks. Most of us do now
and we are constantly revising how we use them for better compliance and for
more effective use of the books.

Hope this helps.