One idea that a friend of mine came up with many years ago was Sketchbook
pages. It worked something like this:
The first 10 minutes of class was set aside for the kids to work in their
sketchbook. They had to do one small sketch a day. Each week had a different
theme. Such as (1) draw reflections, (2) draw eggs in different stages of
development, (3) draw what the Voyager saw when it landed on Mars, etc. You
get the idea.
It worked pretty good for the following reasons:
1. The kids came into the room and were busy drawing for the first 10
minutes. It calmed them down and gave me time to take roll, etc.
2. The kids got to draw some every day, even if for only 10 minutes.
3. The kids got practice at developing a theme. Some of these drawings could
be used in the art later.
4. It taught them how to journal and write down their ideas.
I think at the middle school, this would be one effective way to incorporate
a sketchbook into the day. You could also use it for them to do thumbnail
sketches of the ideas they are developing for projects also.
I also showed the kids some artists sketchbooks at the beginning of the year
and showed them how they were used to record ideas. There are some neat sites
on the internet if you type in sketchbooks. DeVinci's shetchbooks are always
wonderful to use for an example.
Good luck with Middle School!!!!
Teresa in El Paso