Marybeth, what a wonderful post--informative and inspiring.
I was recently contemplating writing a grant proposal to buy sketchbooks
and a drawing pencil set for each of my fifth graders so that I could send
them weekly drawing challenges. Homework, if you will, but I think they'd
enjoy it very much. They could actually bring in sketches for use in their
projects...and also use them for preliminary sketches in class, and for
drawing in when they have finished their work early, just like you have
I have 200 students at this grade level, and finally decided it'd cost too,
too much to get each one of them a spiral-bound sketchbook (I wasn't wanting
huge, but maybe 8x10 or so). And even if I got the books, a range of drawing
pencils would be even more $$.
I had always negated the idea of making sketchbooks in class due the the
huge volume of paper I'd need...but your manila paper simple sketchbook
I like your storage idea, too, and I had a thought...
I have the students in assigned seats so I can keep better track of who is
who and also who is absent. BUT--If I were to place the sketchbooks out on
the tables at random before class, the kids could each go to the seat where
their sketchbook is, and I'd know who is absent by which sketchbook doesn't
have a kid sitting at it. (Of course, this idea wouldn't work out if the
kids bring them home with them for weekly drawing challenges, because I
wouldn't have the books in the room with me. I have concerns that the kids
would misplace or ruin or forget their sketchbooks, too, if they brought
I love your "fortune cookie strip" idea starters, as well.
Don't know if I will do this THIS year...but maybe! And if not this, then
THANK YOU for sharing!
Amy in TN
> 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
> 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.
> New Jersey
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