This was a fun one day drawing assignment that I left for a substitute a few weeks ago. Students were asked to pick an image from the box at the middle of their table and glue it onto a new piece of paper in their sketchbook. They had the remainder of class to make the magazine photo blend into the page by imagining what the rest of the scene might have looked like and adding color. This project took some extra prep time to put together, but I enlisted the help of students who had finished early with a previous project to help me cut out the photos from magazines. I think this could be an interesting longer lesson in the future, giving students more freedom in selecting an image and using different mediums that were interested in.
A few years back our school district did several community showings of the movie Waiting for Superman. After the movie there was time for students, parents and teachers at the screening to voice their reflections on what they had just seen. There was a lot of discussion about students being consumed with homework each night. Students felt they would do better academically if they weren’t so stressed all the time. Parents felt like once their child came home, they shouldn’t be spending six hours doing homework each night as they wanted time to spend with their child too. Teachers felt conflicted as they voiced having a hard time covering all the material for the year during class time, but also wanting the best for the emotional well being of their students.
I have found a personal balance to this by asking my students to complete one "art journal page" in their sketchbook each month. This is an independent work of art that gives students an opportunity to work with subject matters and materials that are interesting to them. They can be collages, drawings or paintings and I ask that they spend a minimum of 30 minutes on the assignment. I provide a list of topics in case students needs help in thinking of an idea, but I like to give them the freedom to do anything, just like an artist would. I think it’s important at the middle school level for students to start developing some skills working independently in their sketchbook, yet I also don’t want them to be completely overwhelmed.
In general, the works of art that students turn in for homework are very impressive! Some students tell me how much they enjoy working on their journal pages and clearly spend more than the required 30 minutes. Here are some examples from grades 6,7 and 8.
Today's #ArtsEdChat is how do you manage to stay organized with the abundance of students, artwork and supplies that you need to work with in the art room? I'm really excited about this topic. It's definitely a challenge working with 500 students each year and trying to manage the mess of materials needed to create art! My biggest solution is staying super organized. Here are a few photos from my classroom. I try to label everything so kids know where to find materials and where to put them back when they are finished.