This was originally posted on 9/30/14
In the Art Department many of us have students maintain sketchbooks for homework assignments. Over the years I have questioned, changed and adapted the assignments, amount of homework and sketchbook process.
I found these guidelines for Healthy Homework Guidelines very helpful:
1. HOMEWORK SHOULD ADVANCE A SPIRIT OF LEARNING
Educators at all grade levels should assign homework only when:
Educators at all grade levels, but particularly in elementary and middle grades, should limit take-home assignments to:
Educators at all grade levels should avoid assigning or requiring homework:
These were posted after many posts by Patrick Larkin on homework. I really valued the discussions and learned a tremendous amount from parents who offered lots of feedback on content and amount of homework.
This year when designing homework I asked myself the following:
How can I make the homework interesting, valuable, engaging and allow for creativity and pleasure? How can I structure the assignments so they are not interrupting family and personal time? How can the homework advance a students curiosity? How can I make homework fun?
Yes, homework should be enjoyable! I tell the students that this is about having time for themselves to learn, and enjoy the art making process. It should not be taxing or exhausting, it should be FUN.
Keeping these objectives in mind I posted the following assignments for my class here: Drawing and Painting Quarter 1 Sketchbook Assignments
The assignments are designed to offer a structure but also allow for flexibility. Students can always turn in an alternate assignment.
I also posted this rubric for grading the homework.
Today the students had the following assignment due:
You Pick the Topic….
Select from the list of possible topics in the list below. Sketch and find a few possible solutions before selecting an idea. You may use any materials
Here are some of the sketchbooks critiqued in class today....
I am evaluating the homework and adapting and making changes regularly. I value the students input and ask them for feedback each week. Homework is a work in progress and one way to gather evidence of learning from students. Today students demonstrated the value of homework in art class.
I often hear " I don't know what to draw!" in the art room.
This comment is often heard and I then steer and help guide students. This year I am trying something new, an IDEA Station.
On a small table in the room I set up an area with a manipulative toy, a few books and the following phrases:
Do you ever feel stuck and not sure what to create?
Check out there suggestions and ideas for inspiration
I am hoping that this area will offer students a place to GO when they are struggling
(something very common for artists! ) and help them discover some options for "what to create" and SPARK new ideas.
I included two great books at the IDEA Station:
The Artist's Muse
During our BPS Conference 2015 the high school and middle school teachers attended a great lecture "Addressing Hate In A Neighboring Community".
Here is a description of the talk:
Beginning in 2013, the community of Bedford started dealing with a string of Anti-Semitic events. You can see the timeline from a recent Boston Globe article here. Despite these unfortunate events, the community of Bedford responded in a way that actually drew the community closer together thanks to some strong community leadership. This story was outlined in a recent Boston Globe Magazine article titled How a string of swastikas actually made Bedford stronger.
This session featured some of the community leaders who played a strong role in Bedford's positive response to these negative incidents.
Special thanks to Rabbi Susan Abramson, Superintendent of Schools Jon Sills, Police Chief Robert Bongiorno, and Burlington High School Student Ashley Koman for taking time to speak to us!
Ashley Koman is a sophomore here who was a part of the BPS Conference 2015. She boldly stood up in front of all of her middle school and high school teachers and spoke about her experience as a Jewish student in our community (see previous blog post).
She spoke openly and honestly about her experience. She also discussed how stressful it is to have homework on a religious holidays. How she couldn't spend quality time bonding with her family because she had to complete an assignment.
This drove home the importance of our school policy to not assign homework or tests during the religious holidays when school is open and in session.
Thank you Ashley for sharing your experience and educating us!
By the way, Ashley is also a talented art student. Here is some of her art:
Christina Chang teaches art and design at Burlington High School.