For my younger students (6th grade as I teach middle school), I like to create folders to keep their artwork in, and on these they write their names large and change each letter of their name into an object that starts with that letter. This way they get to start making something the very first day, and I learn their names quickly. It allows for creativity, and I can see where they are developmentally before they start their first real project. They color these with color pencils, and we are finished in usually two class periods. I haven't enjoyed using written journals, but I guess it really depends on your demographic whether or not your kids will be into responding to a question on the board. I would rather just get into art making than spend the beginning of class writing, but that's just me. I do assign sketchbooks to 7th and 8th grade for homework or classwork when they have finished other assignments. They use these to respond to chapters in the text, plan projects, and to
practice drawing. They have really been a huge success, but I have found that they can make or break a student's grade, because some of the kids will never turn it in. I collect them twice a quarter and they count as a project grade. I usually give the kids one assignment a week, depending on how much downtime they have between projects.
My best advice to you is to avoid downtime at all costs! The sketchbook is really great to help fill in voids while you wait for the slower students to finish before you move on to your next project.
email@example.com wrote:Hi guys,
I'm sure I'm going to be asking a ton of questions in the weeks before my first teaching job starts, but for now I've mostly been reading all of the great ideas that have been circulating. I feel so fortunate to have some sort of support network out there since I don't know any art teachers personally. For now, I have a question about the beginning of school. I'm thinking about making my first project a sketchbook. I've heard that some of you have the kids create their own sketchbooks, and I thought that would be a good starter project. I'm also thinking that I might want the kids to do journal entries in the books as well. I thought I might put a question on the board either every day or once a week that they have to respond to in the first few minutes of class. These would be really open ended questions, asking them how they feel about things. I want to get them thinking. I'd like to assign a sketchbook assignment each week. What kinds of things do you assign as homework?
So, I'm wondering how the kids can make a decent book, something that is relatively simple, that they can make their own, yet something that will last through the year? Also, what ages would be appropriate? Of course, my kindergarteners will be too young to make a sketchbook, but I really don't know about the other grades.
I'm also trying to think of the first day of school. I want to introduce myself, get to know something about the kids, go over procedures and rules, etc...Any neat ideas? It would be nice to let them do something artistic on that first day, something that will tie in to the important things I want to cover...maybe some "getting to know you" project...Any ideas?
Ok, I know that turned into more than one question!