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Re: [teacherartexchange] Go ahead, try choice in difficult circumstances(long)

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From: Mikel Lee (mikellee31_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Sep 02 2006 - 16:57:45 PDT


> As it is many projects are finished around grading
> time
> I do grades (2 of each ) for 2nd -8th grade.
>
> It is a nightmare. I hate it . I always have!
> I bring most pieces home so I can do gradingin peace
> and quiet.
> TAB would a bigger nightmare! (at least it seems
> this way)
> Tab choice art ed...I will look here.
>
> EE

I have to grade all of my students too and I have
about 480 1-5 graders. Our grading scale is
E-excellent, S- satisfactory, H- Having difficulty,
and N- needs improvement in grades 3-5 with a plus,
check or minus in three subcategories. Then in 1st and
2nd we have S- satisfactory, P- progressing, U-
unsatisfactory. I have taken a grade every day for how
they are working. Last year I couldn't keep up with
anything when I was doing projects. I write a letter
for what center they are in and a plus if they have
done outstanding so I can remember to praise them
accordingly.

With choice all of the kids are all working so
independently on what they choose to work on.
Therefore, they are not struggling and frustrated
trying to mimic my project and meet my examples
expectations. This has given me so much time to walk
around and talk to the kids during class. I actually
get to talk to all of them... see what they are
working on...hear their plans for next week and it is
very nice. It makes them so proud to get to tell me
what they havce thought of all on their own.

You will be amazed at what happens if you switch to
choice. I know how you feel. I was so scared to try it
that I read all 3000 something posts just to see how
other people did it. When I read I learned that a lot
of people were scared and that at first some of the
older kids have trouble thinking on their own and that
everyone's story pretty much is progressing happily.
It is NOTHING like trying to drag the kids through
projects. It is so much fun. I kept reading from
people to follow the path your students will lead you
on and I didn't quite get it... but after three weeks
I can see what they mean... The kids start telling you
what they want. You can start seeing that certain kids
need more 3-d activities and others could really go
all out if you just got them a huge piece of paper.
You will start getting excited by how excited you know
your kids are going to be. I stay late every day now
because I am excited about making the room cool for
the kids...not because I have to cut 200 sheets of
same sized paper so everyone can do my project!!!

Then I have a group of boys who started making paper
airplanes because they couldn't think of anything else
to do, so I had to stop them and tell them not to
waste my paper. Then we started talking about what if
they designed a huge flying airplane? What could they
make it out of? how would it look? They started with
bulletin board paper borrowed from the teachers work
room...then we reinforced it with glue that stiffened
when it dried because cardboard was too heavy... then
they had to solve all of the issues that came up...and
then it flew!! It was a glorious huge airplane made by
three 5th grade boys who never have shown any interest
in art and the whole class was cheering for them when
we went into the hall to fly it down the hall!!!
Now I know that a giant paper airplane may be scoffed
at by some art teachers, but when they were making it
I was just as excited as I was when I was in college
collaborating with my fellow art students. It was
exciting!

I know it is scary, but you will be amazed at how your
kids will light up and how creative they really are. I
am sorry that I rambled on. - Mikel in OK

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