Monday, August 13, 2012


So every year I try to refine and perfect things I messed up the year before.  Don't we all?  Last year, due to the sheer numbers of kids I had, some of them never actually got the lovely "art journal" packets I made.  New kids came and went, and every time a new kid showed up, I had to run off another packet.  Our copier is in use all the time, and I never seemed to be able to get in there to get that done.  So my solution is this:  Blank pages!  Yes, instead of art journals with tons of....ok let's face it...they were worksheets...My kids will have a sketchbook.  This is where I'll have them do thumbnail sketches, and when they are finished with the day's work they can choose a sketchbook prompt from the board, or from a list I'll print off.  I anticipated confusion, but when I said the word "sketchbook" today for the first time, there were plenty of positive responses from the kiddos. 

Let it be known, I am not a big fan at all of free draw in my class.  The kids tend to waste paper, and leave a mess, and even rush through the project so that they can draw whatever they want.  That's not ok.  They're supposed to be doing their best work all the time,  right?

I usually take the recycled paper from the workroom and let the kids use the blank side for free draw.  This is what
my free draw center looks like pretty much every day.  Tiki Man is angry.

So I just hole punched a pile of white copier paper and had each kid take 10 pages for now, and put them in the brad folders they were supposed to bring to class.  Today I only had time to give one class a sketchbook prompt.  Some of them sat and thought for a long time about it.  I told them it's ok to write in your sketchbook instead of draw.  It's for saving ideas.  So if they are pictures or words, it doesn't matter.  Studies have shown that working consistently in a sketchbook can help improve literacy.  Seriously.  That's what I read.  Somewhere.  I wish I could link you. 

Now I need a nice, organized way to store them.  I had been using colored file boxes, but they are really too small and tore up easily.  I need some rubbermaids, or maybe a shelf system.  If you use sketchbooks with elementary kids, what do you do?  Do you give prompts, or let them just draw and collage freely?  I'd really like to know.  This is something I hope I can be consistently utilizing rather than free draw or busywork.

Have a great start to the year!

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I only just discovered your blog. I use sketchbooks to do nature studies/observations. I would allow the kids to bring in some leaves or twigs from outside, and they would sketch what they see. :) What kind of worksheets do you give the kids?