New this year to my teaching style, I have decided to incorporate visual journals INSTEAD of sketchbooks. These are some examples of visual journal assignments I have given, how I assign them, what my requirements are, and some results I've received thus far.
10+ sessions; 40 minutes per session
1. SWBAT strengthen problem solving skills to create a solution to each visual journal assignment.
2. SWBAT experiment with mixed media.
3. SWBAT explore creative solutions to visual problems, including the binding of their visual journal and the
1. Visual Journals
2. Year long visual journal packet
3. Art materials (whatever is available)
This year, instead of giving weekly sketchbook assignments, I give my Art 7, Studio Art, and Drawing & Painting students visual journal assignments. Every five weeks, each class has a total of 3 assignments due to me. These are primarily meant to be done at home, however I give students class time on Fridays to work on them, as not everyone has a plethora of art supplies at home.
The requirements for each visual journal assignment is that they MUST be a two-page spread (the back of one page and the front of the very next page), they must use mixed media, and they must somehow creatively interpret the open-ended assignments that are given.
Upon completion of the three assignments every three weeks, once they are graded, students take the feedback I give and any feedback that they may get in class from critique, and finalize their projects if needed. They are give two days in class to upload their projects to Artsonia and write an artist statement. I pre-load questions into Artsonia when I add the assignments in for them to answer. Questions vary from each assignment, asking students how they approached the visual journal assignment, what materials they used and why, what they would do differently, how it compares to something they may have already done in class or learned about, etc.
Since I have the ENTIRE year of assignments planned out from the beginning of the year, I do NOT allow students to hand in the assignments late, as they receive class time and they know the due dates.
My generic rubric that I use to assess each assignment is included in the Visual Journal packets.
**I highly suggest staggering the due dates on these assignments based on the number of classes you have do them. I see Studio Art students (9th graders) every day for a year. Their first batch of assignments were due 4 weeks into the school year, making them due on the 4th week of school instead of the 5th week. My Drawing & Painting students and Art 7 students are only seen every other day, so they only get a visual journal day every other week. Therefore, their first batch of assignments were due on the 5th week of school. This then allowed me to stagger their assignments for the rest of the year. Studio Art is always due a week before the 5/10 week marking period close, and the other two classes are due on the marking period close.
**When it comes to grading on creativity, it not only counts for the actual visual journal assignments themselves, but also for how students get creative in their visual journals to use the different materials. Because I ask them to use the front and backs of their pages, they have to get creative and problem solves any marker bleeding, paint, etc. that might show through pages. This also encourages them to use more mixed media and experiment with other media.
**I have attached and included the three packets from my classes this year and what I have asked them to do thus far. I DO allow student input on these assignments when I give them, and if the class seems to not be on board with what the visual journal assignments are, I take their input and we brainstorm a different idea.
~*~ I have really found that I am getting a lot more quality work from these visual journal assignments. I think it's because they are more open ended and open to interpretation and also because I allow class time. I have noticed that my every other day classes do accomplish a bit less in terms of in-class projects because of this, but their quality of work overall is increasing.~*~
Visual Arts Standard 1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
[5-8] Students intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas
[5-8] Students select media, techniques, and processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of their choices
[9-12 Proficient] Students apply media, techniques, and processes with sufficient skill, confidence, and sensitivity that their intentions are carried out in their artworks
[9-12 Proficient] Students conceive and create works of visual art that demonstrate an understanding of how the communication of their ideas relates to the media, techniques, and processes they use
[9-12 Advanced] Students initiate, define, and solve challenging visual arts problems independently using intellectual skills such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation
Visual Arts Standard 2: Using knowledge of structures and functions
[9-12 Proficient] Students create artworks that use organizational principles and functions to solve specific visual arts problems
[9-12 Advanced] Students create multiple solutions to specific visual arts problems that demonstrate competence in producing effective relationships between structural choices and artistic functions
Visual Arts Standard 3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
[5-8] Students integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in their artworks
[5-8] Students use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks
[9-12 Proficient] Students apply subjects, symbols, and ideas in their artworks and use the skills gained to solve problems in daily life