>One of my biggest challenges right now is that the kids work at such different paces. >Some kids will whip through a project and finish it very quickly and DO NOT want to work >on it anymore and other kids will work SO slow.
One thing I have found useful here is rubrics. They get them at the start of the project and know what I'm looking for in order to get a the best grade. We have only Pass--with distinction, Pass--good job, Pass--needs improvement, and Fail for middle school art grades. I've developed rubrics that score to these standards:
Exceptional=3=Pass-with distinction, High=2=Pass-good job, Moderate=1=Pass-needs improvement, Low=anything less than 1=Fail.
When a kid finishes early, I talk with them about the quality of their work, about the difference between a 1, 2 or 3. I'll ask them what they are hoping to achieve. If they want a 3 we'll discuss what they'd need to do to get a 3. I've been really surprised how many kids go back and do more for the 3! (Sometimes I pantomime pushing motions--always lovingly & with a smile.)
>The kids that finish early just want to talk to their friends and not do anything else.
A while back there was conversation around this issue. We are 2 days from the last class, and kids are in various stages of finish, so I'm hearing this, too. In preparation--just today (!)--I copied and hung Marty Reid's "What should I do now?" list of "drawing draw" activities. I was dubious, but the kids were excited about it and did things from the list.
You can get the list from the archives--try "finished early"--or I can e-mail it to you privately. It's four+ pages and might be better retrieved from the archives. Look for something from Judy Decker, I believe, who compiled ideas.
and also maybe this one
Also, tell them that talking is ok, but not doing art is not acceptable. Use detention to make you point if need be.