I solved this problem simply by having them do joint projects. Sixth graders are still very easy going but come 7th and 8th grades, I found the "click" thing or need for groups and to belong was extremely, extremely strong>
I used it to my advantage. Seventh graders love to pass notes, have secrets and be in clicks. Eigth graders seek independence. Do joint projects for seventh grade that require cooperative effort...murals, stained glass etc...they'll fill your WALLS!!.
----- Original Message -----
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Sent: Thursday, May 25, 2000 11:51 PM
Subject: Jr. High advice needed
I have missed you guys! I just couldn't keep up with the list last year with my schedule and stress at school. I left that school (K-5) after nine years and now teach Jr. High (7-9). Much to my suprise I love this age group, however, I'm finding it hard to adjust in a way I never dreamed of. I was looking forward to teaching a higher level of art, but found that my student do not have the skills. You may think I'm kidding, but some are still drawing the straight line in the corner of their paper for the sun! When I give them a simple drawing assignment they crowd my desk..."I can't draw"..."Show me how to do this"..."Mine is ugly" "Draw this for me" etc. Such whining you've never heard! They can't fill their paper no matter the size, they only use half of it. The majority of them put very little effort into their work. Is this typical of this age? Now, I know the advantage at my former school is that I got them in Kindergarten and molded them over the years through 5th grade. But, honestly, my elementary students could work circles around these 7-9 kids. I love the school and the students, I just wasn't prepared for this. I only have my 7th graders 12 weeks and 8th graders for 6 weeks in our rotation, so I don't feel I have the time to go back and teach the basics they lack. I would greatly appreciate any advice.