So, this year, in my attempt to become more choice-based (a.k.a. T.A.B), I'm calling our sketchbooks "visual journals" and I'm trying to create more open ended, thought provoking assignments. So far, I really do think they are enjoying them, too!
Our first order of business was to create a bell ringer calendar of some sort in our visual journals. I have three classes I am using this bell ringer method with: Studio Art, Art 7 and Drawing & Painting.
Since Studio Art meets every day, I had the students create a monthly calendar that spreads across two pages. Just about everything we are doing in our Visual Journals must be a two-page spread. Why? To save paper and conserve space, but also because they will have to find creative solutions when marker bleeds through the paper to the other side!!
These are my own bell ringer pages from the other two classes. For Drawing & Painting, which is on the left, the students created a condensed calendar on one page of their visual journals. I only see these students every other day. Again, they were told that they can fill in the other squares on their own time. Many students left the weekend off of their calendar so that they had bigger squares to draw in. For Drawing & Painting, their monthly theme for September is "Fall". On the first day, I told them to draw something that reminded them of fall. On the second day (which should have been Thursday...I already messed up my days... ;), I told them to draw something that reminds them of fall using food. I will do a post at the end of September with everyone's calendar pages when they are complete. This group is doing amazing things...some or working in just pencil, some in Sharpie, and some are experimenting with other drawing media, like colored pencils and oil pastels!
The bell ringer page on the right, is my page from Art 7. Again, I see these guys every other day. So, I counted how many days we would see each other for the rest of the month, and then had them split their page up into that many spaces. It just so happened that 7 was our lucky number, which is perfect because our first unit is the Elements of Art! They haven't caught on yet, but each day, I am asking them to fill a space with as many lines....shapes...textures...forms...etc. as they can.
In class, I plan on allowing students to work on these visual journal assignments on Fridays only. I know that most students don't have the materials at home to do this. They can come down to my room during Study Hall or after school, but for those who are in sports, this can be difficult, so I'm doing my best to give a little. The first assignment, which we spent the first three days of class beginning was the cover design. Over summer, my daughter helped me design my cover. I collaged newspaper and white tissue paper over my cover. Then, I dropped colored India Ink on it and we used straws to blow the ink. I use black washi tape to "frame" the cover, and then pink washi tape to write "visual journal" on the front. I also took a thin sharpie and added some value lines to the visual journal tape.
So, that's a lot, right? It is, but I'm confident that if I give them their Friday's, they'll have plenty of time to succeed at this. Quite a few of the students are already done with their cover, and a few have even told me that they asked their parents if they could go buy some art supplies for at home to do their assignments. Score!
Here is what the visual journal document looks like to my students in their Google Classroom. I created a rubric based on the Studio Habits of Mind and in my effort to move towards choice based art, I will be assessing all of their projects using these criteria. All of their visual journal assignments must be two-page spreads and they must use mixed media.