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Curriculum [Conversation]

Sketchbook Homework in Elementary Art?

Started on Jan 18, 2013 by MrsImpey
Last post on Jun 24, 2013

I have dabbling with the idea of giving sketchbook assignments as homework to my 5th and 6th graders. I'm wondering how many of you do this?

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  • MrsImpey 01/18/2013 at 01:00pm
    This is my 3rd year teaching in my own classroom and I know the teacher before me didn't assign homework, however this year, our school changed poicy on report grades and the special areas count 25% towards their final average on their report cards. I see my students twice a cycle, and I'm thinking I would like to try and incorperate sketchbook assignments as a way to improve grades, not hinder them.

    I was thinking that I could give weekly assignments and if students do them with quality, they could be worth extra credit on in-class assignments...I was thinking of buying a book binding kit from Blick to have them make their own 5"x7" sketch journal to do this with...

  • lhARTz 02/01/2013 at 09:13am
    I think it's a great idea. One of the first things I do at the beginning of the year is have students make their own sketchbooks, but next year I'm adding it to their supply list because my budget can't afford it. We'll decorate the cover of course.

    I don't offer homework assignments(yet) but I think it's a great idea, especially for the older students. I'd keep the assignments simple and quick. Maybe even incorporate a weekly or bi-weekly art history assignment to look up artists and write down 2-3 facts and sketch one of their works.

    How you grade them would be up to you, but make them worth value. If they're just extra credit, I'm guessing many students won't bother. Maybe if they're done, they get a check mark. When grades are due, if they have 9/10 of the assignments completed, they get 90%? Just a suggestion of course. Good luck!

  • MrsImpey 02/02/2013 at 07:11am
    Oh, I really like that idea of the check marks...I'm planning on only doing this with 5th and 6th grade next year to see how it goes. If it goes well, I might incorperate it with the 3rd and 4th graders as well.

  • MrsRich 02/03/2013 at 07:11am
    It's a fantastic idea if your students are responsible enough to keep the books in one piece. My students are in an extremely impoverished area, and are unwilling to keep their notebooks "clean." For example, if I spend money on sketchbooks, most of my kiddos will loose them, tear out pages, or use them for tagging. I've found it easier to give them sketch sheets instead. When I need them to complete practice work or complete a sketch for homework, I will use copy paper which has a printed rubric on it so they know exactly how to earn an A on each assignment, and the assignment is more likely to stay clean.

  • Hope200 02/04/2013 at 04:46pm
    I tried it one quarter, and the students never remembered to bring their sketchbooks to class. So, I made them all return them and work in class. They don't get to keep them until the end of the quarter.

  • MrsImpey 02/06/2013 at 08:22am
    I asked one of my classes of 6th graders what they would think if I had done sketchbook assignments this year. I was surprised to see that about 80% of them would have been happy, excited and willing to have a sketchbook! Although, a lot of students aren't that happy with their grades either (the 6th grade drama is getting in the way of their art projects). A few students were honest and said they probably wouldn't do an assignment.

    I'm thinking I really like the check system...if you have 9 out of 10 sketches done, you get a sketchbook grade of a 90 for the 10 week period...though I think I would need to implement a check minus, check, check plus system to encourage craftsmanship in the sketchbooks as well.

  • TheresaGillespie 02/21/2013 at 06:37pm
    I would love to do this with my 5th grade (my oldest students) however in one of my schools it would be a problem getting them to return them if they took them home. Yet it would be very beneficial to students to have them. The creation of a sketchbook or journal could be a project/lesson in itself. The problem would be creating them using little funds. Anyone have a good method of making a sketchbook? We do have a book binder but I think the pages would rip from it.

  • Hope200 02/23/2013 at 02:00pm
    I love using sketchbooks in our Middle School art. Because we are Title 1, I don't get a budget and most of my students' can't afford to buy their own. My first year, we made our own out of constuction paper and copy paper and stapled them. Then, I learned about and began writing projects to get classpacks of sketchbooks from Nasco. I also copy the "30 Day Drawing Challenge" for the students to keep in it. They have 10 minutes at the beginning of each class to draw. Their work is arbibrary at most. They just can't seem to get into it even if I give them the whole period. How can I encourage them to complete a page, rather than just drawing one cartoon per page? Any ideas would be helpful!

  • MrsImpey 02/24/2013 at 01:40pm
    I'm planning on buying these book binding class packs from Dick Blick for next year. It's $43.49 to make 30 6"x9" books with 30 pages each.

    Hope200, do you have a craftsmanship rubric in your classroom? I found lots of examples on Pinterst and decided to make one for my classroom this year. It works really well with the younger kids. I'm hoping that by instilling this idea of craftsmanship in them at a younger age, they'll hopefully carry that with them as the progress through art. You can see my craftsmanship rubric here:

  • artypants 06/24/2013 at 02:24pm
    Years ago I gave up on sketchbooks because of the expense and the waste of paper. Try this. It works GREAT for me: On Thursdays I assign all drawing homework, 1 per week due the following Thursday. Students draw on copy paper only. I assign all but one drawing during the term. They get to choose one for themselves near the end of the 9 weeks. We work with a rubric to discover how to make a good drawing a great drawing(fill the page, shade everything, work a minimum of 1 hour on each drawing,show black, 3 tones of gray and a little white in each drawing using regular pencils.) Students grade themselves according to the rubric. I also grade each one (my grade is the one that counts!) and more often than not the students are harder on themselves than I am! At the end of the 9 weeks we place the drawings in clear protector sheets and assemble them in a 3-ring binder. They bring the binders and protector sheets. At the end of the year the students really have a nice collection of drawings they are proud of because they have worked so hard on them. I have done this with upper elem, middle school and high school levels.