I have required sketchbooks for all my classes for many years. I have tried
every possible option and this is what works for me.
We make sketchbooks after the class flipping dies down. Tagboard covers with
3 hole punch computer paper guts. We decorate the cover to build ownership.
We have a very low income population, so purchasing them is gernerally not
successful. We have a binder policy on campus (every student must have a
binder...) so I have them keep them in the binder. I give the Art 1 kids a
sheet with each weekly sketch assingment listed to put into the front of the
sketchbook. Art 2 a skill assignment list with more open ended subject
matter. Art 3 kids make a "Handbook" sketchbook for hands the first
semester. My AP kids (purchase a spiral sketchbook) and get to do any sketch
that they want provided it is a possible idea or final piece for a the AP
Everyone's sketch is due on each Friday. I walk around to each table with my
attendance book for the kid to show me the sketch and also art notes from
the week. Each is worth 5 points. If they have an exused absence they can
show me the following friday the current sketch and the previous fridays
sketch. If the student is there and does not have the sketch done they
cannot make it up. I grade the sketches the first thing on Friday. This
gives them no time to do it in class on friday. We have manitory reading
time 10 minutes each day across campus alos. So there should be no pencils
out while I am coming around to tables to check drawings.In the attendance
square for that friday I make a s/n S meaning they had the sketch and N
meaning they had notes. This makes it easy to input onto the computer later
and to keep track of who gets to make it up or not. It ends up being 20% of
However, if during the week a student has finished early, they are welcome
to use class time for working on a sketch for the week or work ahead to
upcomeing weeks.This works out well for erasing goof-off time. Praising the
student sketches is key! As I go around the table I tell them something
positive about the sketch it is easy to see backs get straighter and other
eyes drift over to see what cool thing the other student did. Praise is key!
Pats on the back and sincere nods/smiles are good stuff too. Remeber folks,
this may be the only persoal contact the kid gets all day from an adult.
Second semester, I give the Art 1 kids the "Attribute Sketchbook" assignment
I've shared on the list in the past. I absolutly love this sketchbook
because it helps build skills and self-esteem vocabulary as well. Then, when
I walk around to grade on Friday it gives me a chance to also comment on the
attribute they chose to depict, such as; honorable, helpful, attentive,
I hope this helps others thinking about using sketchbooks.