Carol posted a question regarding Elementary sketchbooks and whether or not
they are relevant.
I teach K-5 art and every year I have my 3-5 grades make sketchbooks on the
first day of art class. They use their sketchbooks for planning and working
out their composition before they begin a project. Also, during free-time I
have a coffee can labeled 'Sketchbook Ideas' and it is filled with "fortune
cookie strips" of idea starters to sketch in their books. Students may opt
to choose a strip, read it, place it back in the can then sketch in their
sketch book. This eliminates alot of wasted free draw paper.
The sketchbooks are cheap! I have them fold four pieces of 12" x 18" manila
paper and staple it three times along the spine. Their book may be held
horizontal or vertical with their name and classroom clearly marked on the
cover. Then they design a cover however they wish. I have three milkcrates
on a shelf and they are clearly marked 3rd Grade, 4th Grade and 5th Grade;
each crate has a hanging folder for each teacher and this is where the
sketchbooks are kept. When they need them, we pass them out and during
clean up they are put back on their classroom folder. If someone fills a
sketchbook they take it home with them and make another!
I utilize the sketchbooks alot, and feel as if they are an important tool in
teaching students how to plan their artwork. I explain to them that all
artists make thumbnail sketches before sitting in front of their canvas, or
it is just like writing a rough draft for a paragraph in class. Sometimes I
have them plan three different ideas for a project so they all don't look
like my sample or their neighbors.