Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday Mayhem: Sketchbooks in the Middle School Studio

Back in June I began thinking about my journey into middle school art. I also knew that I wanted my students to have a sketchbook for their time in my studio.

My 5 reasons to have a sketchbook in 
the middle school art studio:

1. It keeps everything in one place. Not only can you take notes, but students can practice techniques without having to say to you "I messed up and need a new paper." It's also a good place for practicing writing about art, critiques and making observations. 
2. It helps with the creative process. Sometimes you wake up and just create. Other times, you need time to think, find multiple solutions to a problem(divergent thinking) and then choose the solution that is best for the situation(convergent thinking). Planning is apart of being an artist, from start to finish thinking about the best medium or color choice, the size and how to display the piece, it can all go into the sketchbook and students can revisit later if they need to. 
3. It helps conserve paper. In elementary I rarely had kids practicing before beginning on their artwork. The artwork WAS the practice and the final. When I did have them sketch on a small piece of paper, I had to keep track of it and honestly it was a lot of work. With a sketchbook students have an opportunity to practice the techniques, explore different types of medium, and respond to questions and prompts creatively as well. 
4. It's easy to check their work.  All I have to do is say "Open your sketchbook to your (insert page you need to check) page!" And I walk around checking and commenting and encouraging students. It's great! 
5. It encourages the students to be creative outside of class and gives them a place to do it. Even before I had students "set up" their sketchbooks, kids were bringing them to class with drawings already inside. This makes me so happy as a teacher! They aren't waiting for me to tell them what to do, they are already making creative decisions without prompting and that is AWESOME!

For my two classes ART I and ADV. ART I created two sketchbooks so that when we add something in the kids have an example of sorts. This also helps when students are absent they can check the sketchbook to see if they've missed an exercise. I was inspired by this amazing website The Lost Sock and her post about Art Journaling. I used some of her ideas, and will add my own as the year progresses.

Since we all know I'm a collage addict, I had to give each sketchbook a cover, which as an added bonus helped me relax after the first two weeks of school.

Here I go again relaxing with my hot chocolate and collage insanity!
ART I sketchbook cover complete!
ADV. Art sketchbook cover complete!
Side by side!

On the inside I have the first 5-6 pages planned out using some inspiration from the blog mentioned above and added in a page for the Quick Draw Challenge which is what I use as bell work when the students come in. Here are some examples from the kids so far:

In class we just outlined the sketchbook, but the kids took them home over the weekend and
some amazing things came back on Tuesday. (Monday was a holiday after all.)
A creative way to write their purpose and procedures page!
This student took an idea from a magazine, but is making it her own. In her words "The magazine is about age, but I want my piece to show that every part of you is beautiful." Truer words never spoken.

Inspiration comes from everywhere, so for a "homework" assignment, the kids were asked to find magazine images that the liked or inspired them and put them in their sketchbook.
After showing them a sketchbook I use for my home improvements, some of the students even did fold out clippings. 
Instead of gluing in the magazine, she drew it!
The quick draw page for a few students. I encourage them to make their sketchbook their own and color is definitely one way they show it!

So far these are the pages we have inside:

Inside cover:
Name, Weekly Schedule(basic overview of what they should expect each day of the week)

1. My Sketchbook Cover page (or My Art Book, or My Art Journal)

2. Purpose & Procedure

3. Topics
4. Art Supply Rules
5. Quick Draw Challenge (this will pop up in the sketchbook many times I'm sure)
You've seen my previous worksheet for QDC, but here
I let the students draw four boxes however they want.

6. I am... I can... I will... (a declaration of who they are, which was used for the negative space in their self portrait assignment.
I love seeing the vocabulary used in their statements.

7. Magazine Inspiration
Not sure if I'll make this a weekly assignment, but I love to see what
inspires the kids and what they are interested in.
From here on out my Art I and Adv. Art class sketchbooks will start to look very different because the assignments will change, but these are just the beginning pages to get us started. I will also have the kids add in some handouts for certain things. I have a pinterest board just for collecting ideas for our sketchbooks, check it out here. It's small now, but I'm sure it will grow!

One coming up soon is called 10 ways to improve your sketchbook(follow the link to my live binder where you can download the handout for FREE!) which was inspired by this pin here. So I typed it up and made a little handout for the students to keep with their sketchbook.

Anyway I think I've run out of things to say about our sketchbooks right now, but stay tuned for updates through out the year!

Do your students keep a sketchbook? How do you organize them? What do you use them for mostly? Share your thoughts and ideas here!

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