Sketchbooks… I High School Necessity

While teaching elementary, I dreamed of using sketchbooks in class. I had seen others in the blogging world implement them successfully, but for some reason or another I could never get around to making it work. Not even in my 45 minutes of time. 

But… I knew in high school it would be different. The very first thing on my supply order for the year was sketchbooks. Our art department is very lucky to be able to charge an art fee and fundraise to have the funds we do. I was able to purchase them all. I think of the sketchbook as my textbook and here's why...

Sketchbook "pinsperations" 

Project ART-A-Day
Pinterest sketchbook page

Sketchbook Goals

Note taking / Bell Ringer Work
   At the beginning of each class I will have a Bell Ringer (something for the students to work on when they arrive and while I take attendance and basic "house cleaning" things) on the screen. Usually it is an activity that relates to the lesson or notes. I do this using PowerPoint and my projector. 
   When I give notes, I try to cram as many of our notes onto one PowerPoint slide that are easily read. I also try to keep my notes as short and simple as I can. Students have 10 to 15 minutes for Bell Ringers. If they didn't have enough time to copy notes, it's okay. The notes they needed reappear when I actually go through the PowerPoint for the day's lesson. 
   If students didn't have time to finish the activity they will need to finish it after the lesson/instruction. 
Students may trace a post-it so they can draw a picture alongside their notes. 

Cut out color wheel for Bell Ringer that is pasted into sketchbook for note taking.

All Bell Ringers are dated. Monochromatic bell ringer Pre-Assessment 
   The thing that scared me most when I was in art class was little prep for the actual project. The teacher would explain and demo during the lesson, but then hand you the paper and say, "Now let's begin." I was always scared to begin because I had had no practice. I always allow my students to practice with materials and techniques before beginning an actual project. This has worked best with color mixing and value studies with various materials. The 50 lb paper may not be best for all materials, but it works well for practice. 
   I teach by the "I do, we do, you do". First, I demo. Then, we practice together. Finally, they do it on their own in the sketchbook or go right into the project. This has been such a successful teaching method and the sketchbooks are an crucial part of it. 
   I have seen less waste for "Redo's" because of the sketchbooks. 
Pre-assessment Bell Ringer
"We do" student does while teacher demos

"You do" student practices on their own.

   Kinda the same as practice. Students experiment with color mixing and techniques. 

Grid drawing 
   Many students are leery to work BIG. So, when we begin a large sized project they may want to draw it first in their sketchbook and then use the grid system to enlarge. I will usually provide a template to trace into their sketchbook so that the sizing will be correct. 
(Sorry, somehow I managed not to get a pic of this)
   Most Bell Ringer work is a pre-asseement of sorts. I can walk around while they work and get a grasp as to who needs more work. Sometimes I am pleased to see that I don't need to spend as much time as expected on a technique if I can see that most have it. It's also a great way to document student growth. 
Color wheel and pre-assessment for color mixing

Pre-assessment for color pencil and composition

Pre-assessment for drawing and hatching
Rough Sketches and Drafts
  I require rough sketches and drafts for some projects we do as part of their grade. I may require 3 thumb nail sketches or just one to see what their idea is. This has been wonderful to help with 3D planning. 
referring to her plan

planning out designs
Notice her plan in the background

More design planning
Drawing out her painting from her draft

sketching some ideas
What Sketchbook do I use? 
   I like to use Strathmore Sketch. It has 100 sheets of 50 lb paper. Not the best for watercolor, but it will do the job. I like to have many pages so they can continue to sketch on their own. Students in Art I must leave the book in their class "mailbox". All other arts can take them home, but must have them each day as a part of a daily grade. It was the best bang for the buck.
  At the end of the semester the sketchbooks are theirs to take home. They may choose not to keep them and I will keep them for reference or repurpose them. If I don't have enough sketchbooks and I get a new student, I will tear out pages and give the old sketchbook. 

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