It seems a shame not to have a solid foundation in drawing before expanding
into other art arenas. The ceramics vessel can be a wonderful three
dimensional canvas to draw and paint on. It can be a painting with a
function. Then some people prefer the tactile over two dimensional.
Free drawing for short periods of time isn't a bad idea. Students like to
feel like they have some control over their learning. I believe providing
the time for them to experience some control in their learning is a good
thing. Limited time. It's good practice for life outside the classroom. I'd
have ideas and materials available for the students who couldn't think of
anything to draw during those short periods though. Boredom can create
chaos and disruptive behavior in the classroom very quickly.
I don't think I'd ever leave a substitute with a lesson plan that said,
"Free drawing day."