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early finishers

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  • Jackie Zubrzycki
    Hi - This is a very first-year teacher question, but it s one that I d appreciate your advice on. I teach 6-8 graders, 4 classes of each. In every grade, I m
    Message 1 of 9 , Sep 28, 2009
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      Hi -

      This is a very first-year teacher question, but it's one that I'd appreciate your advice on. I teach 6-8 graders, 4 classes of each. In every grade, I'm hitting a point now where I have some students finishing projects while others are far behind. I'm not sure whether / when to introduce the next project. What percentage of a class should be done a project before I move on? What are the best kinds of sponge activities for middle schoolers? The kids do have sketchbooks that I'm collecting and grading, so I could give them extra sketchbook activities - but if I have one or two kids finished this class period, should they really work on sketchbooks for an entire class?

      I appreciate any advice that comes out of here. I have learned a lot from reading these threads,

      Jackie
    • christyvk
      Hi Jackie, I think this is an issue with all art teachers. I usually gauge a project due date on the students who work kind of in the middle - not too fast,
      Message 2 of 9 , Sep 29, 2009
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        Hi Jackie,

        I think this is an issue with all art teachers. I usually gauge a project due date on the students who work kind of in the middle - not too fast, not too slow. For the students who finish early, I usually give them a smaller project based on the larger one just completed. With this project, I usually give them a little more creative freedom to do what they want. These projects are usually for extra credit.

        Christy

        --- In art_education@yahoogroups.com, Jackie Zubrzycki <jaclyn.zubrzycki@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi -
        >
        > This is a very first-year teacher question, but it's one that I'd appreciate
        > your advice on. I teach 6-8 graders, 4 classes of each. In every grade, I'm
        > hitting a point now where I have some students finishing projects while
        > others are far behind. I'm not sure whether / when to introduce the next
        > project. What percentage of a class should be done a project before I move
        > on? What are the best kinds of sponge activities for middle schoolers? The
        > kids do have sketchbooks that I'm collecting and grading, so I could give
        > them extra sketchbook activities - but if I have one or two kids finished
        > this class period, should they really work on sketchbooks for an entire
        > class?
        >
        > I appreciate any advice that comes out of here. I have learned a lot from
        > reading these threads,
        >
        > Jackie
        >
      • Dave Hoffmann
        This is one of those challenges for teachers (especially visual art teachers). I tend to go with the middle finishers as well.  I try and remind the ones
        Message 3 of 9 , Sep 29, 2009
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          This is one of those challenges for teachers (especially visual art teachers). I tend to go with the middle finishers as well.  I try and remind the ones that take more time of how much more time they have to work on the projects as a class or when we'll be starting a new project.  I also have free draw paper/ scrap paper out for those who finish early with a bucket of drawing ideas for them to choose from. (If they don't finish with it they can put it in their portfolio folder to pull out again if they finish early again after another project.)
          Dave
           


          From: christyvk <christyvk@...>
          To: art_education@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 12:16:54 PM
          Subject: [art_education] Re: early finishers

           

          Hi Jackie,

          I think this is an issue with all art teachers. I usually gauge a project due date on the students who work kind of in the middle - not too fast, not too slow. For the students who finish early, I usually give them a smaller project based on the larger one just completed. With this project, I usually give them a little more creative freedom to do what they want. These projects are usually for extra credit.

          Christy

          --- In art_education@ yahoogroups. com, Jackie Zubrzycki <jaclyn.zubrzycki@ ...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi -
          >
          > This is a very first-year teacher question, but it's one that I'd appreciate
          > your advice on. I teach 6-8 graders, 4 classes of each. In every grade, I'm
          > hitting a point now where I have some students finishing projects while
          > others are far behind. I'm not sure whether / when to introduce the next
          > project. What percentage of a class should be done a project before I move
          > on? What are the best kinds of sponge activities for middle schoolers? The
          > kids do have sketchbooks that I'm collecting and grading, so I could give
          > them extra sketchbook activities - but if I have one or two kids finished
          > this class period, should they really work on sketchbooks for an entire
          > class?
          >
          > I appreciate any advice that comes out of here. I have learned a lot from
          > reading these threads,
          >
          > Jackie
          >


        • Kelli Wilke
          I have a bulletin board labeled I m done, now what??   since that is the question I always get.  Underneath the title I have many ideas stapled to the wall
          Message 4 of 9 , Sep 29, 2009
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            I have a bulletin board labeled "I'm done, now what??"  since that is the question I always get.  Underneath the title I have many ideas stapled to the wall and I go over their options with them at the beginning of the quarter.  Things like....puzzles, art games, drawing, art websites, helping me hang displays, etc.  They never have an excuse not to be working on something.  If they have a hard time finding something, then I make them clean.  Some decide then, that maybe they should go back and touch up their project.  Unfortunately, sometimes I feel I spend more time coming up with things they can do when they finish early that I spend on the projects themselves!   I do tend to decide on a due date towards the middle of the project.  There are times I will start the next project with the entire class, then allow the stragglers to finish up the next day while the others are starting the new project.  But I gauge that on how the students are working.
            I've been wanting to put together a binder that has projects with directions that focus on different art objectives that they can do on their own..  Haven't started it yet but the idea is there.  It could have a picture along with step by step directions.  They can just flip through the binder and see what they want to try.  Does anyone do anythign like that?  Just wondering how it would work.
             
            Kelli in NE

            --- On Tue, 9/29/09, Dave Hoffmann <djustdave2002@...> wrote:

            From: Dave Hoffmann <djustdave2002@...>
            Subject: Re: [art_education] Re: early finishers
            To: art_education@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2009, 2:47 PM

             
            This is one of those challenges for teachers (especially visual art teachers). I tend to go with the middle finishers as well.  I try and remind the ones that take more time of how much more time they have to work on the projects as a class or when we'll be starting a new project.  I also have free draw paper/ scrap paper out for those who finish early with a bucket of drawing ideas for them to choose from. (If they don't finish with it they can put it in their portfolio folder to pull out again if they finish early again after another project.)
            Dave
             


            From: christyvk <christyvk@yahoo. com>
            To: art_education@ yahoogroups. com
            Sent: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 12:16:54 PM
            Subject: [art_education] Re: early finishers

             
            Hi Jackie,

            I think this is an issue with all art teachers. I usually gauge a project due date on the students who work kind of in the middle - not too fast, not too slow. For the students who finish early, I usually give them a smaller project based on the larger one just completed. With this project, I usually give them a little more creative freedom to do what they want. These projects are usually for extra credit.

            Christy

            --- In art_education@ yahoogroups. com, Jackie Zubrzycki <jaclyn.zubrzycki@ ...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi -
            >
            > This is a very first-year teacher question, but it's one that I'd appreciate
            > your advice on. I teach 6-8 graders, 4 classes of each. In every grade, I'm
            > hitting a point now where I have some students finishing projects while
            > others are far behind. I'm not sure whether / when to introduce the next
            > project. What percentage of a class should be done a project before I move
            > on? What are the best kinds of sponge activities for middle schoolers? The
            > kids do have sketchbooks that I'm collecting and grading, so I could give
            > them extra sketchbook activities - but if I have one or two kids finished
            > this class period, should they really work on sketchbooks for an entire
            > class?
            >
            > I appreciate any advice that comes out of here. I have learned a lot from
            > reading these threads,
            >
            > Jackie
            >



          • kathyscostello
            Message 5 of 9 , Sep 30, 2009
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              >
              >My 5th- 8th Graders have sketchbooks with quarterly assignments. They get to choose from the list and work on an assignment when they are finished with their main project. The assignments are creative and open-ended and they really like getting their sketchbooks and working in them. The K-4th graders have the option to get a how-to-draw book, a coloring page, an art book or free draw. I have a cart with coloring pages, free time paper (limit~1), markers, crayons, colored pencils. There is a table with stencils, mannekins to draw and magnetic sculpture nearby. It works out well, and there's no down time. I received $$ from an art fundraiser that we did last year, and I bought many new how to draw books, like Sponge Bob, Pokeman, Disney, Wall-e, Manga,to name a few, and they are wild about them!
            • MaryJo Rosania-Harvie
              Jackie -I teach high school - 40 minute periods and I see them everyday -- I used to teach in an 80 minute block schedule -- which you can imagine created lots
              Message 6 of 9 , Sep 30, 2009
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                Jackie -
                I teach high school - 40 minute periods and I see them everyday -- I used to teach in an 80 minute block schedule -- which you can imagine created lots of "early finishers" -- so this is what I do (I tried having extra projects for them to do, but they never seemed to have the motivation to do a good job on an "extra" project -- some did, but most didn't ) So, after 9 years I think I have a handle on this --
                I start a project and pay attention to - as everyone else called them - the middle finisher's pace -- and just before the fast finishers can say they are done,  I post a reasonable  due date -- a very reasonable due date -- this seems to show the slow workers that they need to pick up the pace and the fast workers that there are expectations for the project that they may be overlooking.....

                If someone finishes early, I can usually give them some suggestions of where they need to improve the project - and they USUALLY go back and work further -- there are those who are just not going to work anymore - even if I tell them the grade will reflect this -- and for them, I give them some free time -- this is only really something I would do for one class period (40 minutes) and usually not the whole time. If more than, say, one quarter of the class is finished - then I introduce the next project -- I am not sure how this works in middle school since I don't know how often you meet with them.

                Hope this helps, good luck, 
                MaryJo 



                On Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 6:33 AM, kathyscostello <kathyscostello@...> wrote:
                 

                >
                >My 5th- 8th Graders have sketchbooks with quarterly assignments. They get to choose from the list and work on an assignment when they are finished with their main project. The assignments are creative and open-ended and they really like getting their sketchbooks and working in them. The K-4th graders have the option to get a how-to-draw book, a coloring page, an art book or free draw. I have a cart with coloring pages, free time paper (limit~1), markers, crayons, colored pencils. There is a table with stencils, mannekins to draw and magnetic sculpture nearby. It works out well, and there's no down time. I received $$ from an art fundraiser that we did last year, and I bought many new how to draw books, like Sponge Bob, Pokeman, Disney, Wall-e, Manga,to name a few, and they are wild about them!




                --
                MaryJo Rosania-Harvie


              • Suzette Milam-Morrow
                There are a lot of ways you can implement structure into your class that will help. It sounds like you already do a lot, and to be honest you will always have
                Message 7 of 9 , Sep 30, 2009
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                  There are a lot of ways you can implement structure into your class that will help. It sounds like you already do a lot, and to be honest you will always have to tweak your approach. Here are some other tricks for your bag:

                  Have a “soft close” due date. Usually, it is one week. Middle schoolers can rarely focus on one project longer than that, unless it is really tactile like paper mache`. With a “soft close” you introduce the next lesson and post objectives, but allow the late finishers to continue to work on the previous project for the day. They can complete the project at home and turn it in late and lose 1 point for each day it is turned in late.

                  You have sketchbook assignment due each Friday as homework. However, if a student has finished early, they can work on the sketchbook assignment in class or work ahead on future weeks. Place a sheet of all assignments in the front of the sketchbook.

                  You can have a “color in” chart posted in the room with student id numbers. You write the project on top with due date, the student colors in the square when they have completed the assignment and turned it in. The visual is very helpful to keep the pace.

                  You can have an on going project like a class theme mural (white butcher paper on a door) area, a “It’s All About Me” book that has a show date (usually Youth Art Month in March) to work toward. This is also the time to have contests available for students to choose from.

                  If you have one or two kids that are always the ones that are done early and you realize that they just can’t cook on all burners all the time, make them special projects like taking down artwork, making signs the Principal wants for a teacher parking space, sorting visual aids by subject matter, etc. It should not be more fun than the project, but be engaging enough to stimulate participation in the arts.

                  A 3x5 box of drawing option cards for extra credit. (The old recipe card box you never use anyway) I never grade them and they never notice.

                  Hidden picture puzzles help raise vocabulary and visual searching skills. Have then do some and then make one of their own.

                  Have graph paper available next to a poster on how to make a maze. Offer a display area for completed mazes and a “Maze of the Month” featured area.

                  Cleaning is always an unappealing reason to finish early. So is sorting paper by size and or colors. I Iove the extra help when it does happen! Inventory and cleaning are never ending chores for me.

                  The idea is to always keep it fresh and stimulating. There is no one right answer to this challenge. It is all about implementing new tactics all the time that help kids learn. Tell the students your expectations are that everyone will be engaged in learning at all times PERIOD. No options for putting on make-up, goofing around or visiting. If your school has A.R. reading requirements in which students must read and take computer tests on books for credit in English classes, you can use that as another activity that they can do if done early as well. The students will get the idea that your class is not the place to dis-engage if you have that set as a standard and have options available.

                  I hope that helps give you some ideas of stuff you can do. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but have acquired a lot of tricks in my bag.   

                   

                  Suzette Morrow

                • tabchoiceteaching
                  ... Hi Jackie, Your question is an important one, and one that is good to consider carefully as you are beginning your career. Because art making is so much
                  Message 8 of 9 , Sep 30, 2009
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                    --- In art_education@yahoogroups.com, Jackie Zubrzycki <jaclyn.zubrzycki@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Hi -
                    >
                    > This is a very first-year teacher question, but it's one that I'd appreciate
                    > your advice on. I teach 6-8 graders, 4 classes of each. In every grade, I'm
                    > hitting a point now where I have some students finishing projects while
                    > others are far behind>>

                    Hi Jackie,

                    Your question is an important one, and one that is good to consider carefully as you are beginning your career. Because art making is so much more complex and subtle than solving middle school math problems, for instance, it is trickier to offer good studio experiences to your very diverse students.

                    When I began teaching I imagined a time machine that could put famous artists as children together in my art room. Imagine Vermeer, David Smith, Picasso, Helen Frankenthaler, Andrew Wyeth and Jackson Pollock, all aged 13, in your art class! What would you do to support the most prosperous way for each of them to behave artistically? They would certainly not all work at the same speed! And the students in your classes are actually as diverse as those notables in the ways they need to approach making things.

                    How do we best use our very limited time with our students?
                    How do we individualize instruction for diverse learners?
                    How do we encourage artistic behaviors that students will continue outside our classrooms?
                    How do we set up the circumstance for our students to challenge themselves through art?

                    kathy douglas
                    k-3 massachusetts, retired
                    teachingforartisticbehavior.org
                    http://bit.ly/17hnjv
                  • Jackie Zubrzycki
                    Thank you SO much for all the suggestions. It s an enormous relief to have a group of art teachers to turn to, and a pleasure to read your responses. I will
                    Message 9 of 9 , Oct 1, 2009
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                      Thank you SO much for all the suggestions. It's an enormous relief to have a group of art teachers to turn to, and a pleasure to read your responses. I will definitely begin implementing some of these strategies. Some are complicated by the fact that I'm "art on a cart" and that I see my students on a three day rotation - 6th graders one day, 7th the next, 8th the last - so it can be hard to maintain continuity / to track everyone's progress. 

                      I'm sure I'll be turning to you all for more advice in the future - and I hope to learn enough to contribute my own at some point. :) Teaching art is an incredible thing, but I sometimes wish I had a school full of art teachers to observe and learn from - we face a very unique set of challenges!

                      Jackie

                      On Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 3:12 PM, tabchoiceteaching <TwoDucks@...> wrote:
                       

                      --- In art_education@yahoogroups.com, Jackie Zubrzycki <jaclyn.zubrzycki@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Hi -
                      >
                      > This is a very first-year teacher question, but it's one that I'd appreciate
                      > your advice on. I teach 6-8 graders, 4 classes of each. In every grade, I'm
                      > hitting a point now where I have some students finishing projects while
                      > others are far behind>>

                      Hi Jackie,

                      Your question is an important one, and one that is good to consider carefully as you are beginning your career. Because art making is so much more complex and subtle than solving middle school math problems, for instance, it is trickier to offer good studio experiences to your very diverse students.

                      When I began teaching I imagined a time machine that could put famous artists as children together in my art room. Imagine Vermeer, David Smith, Picasso, Helen Frankenthaler, Andrew Wyeth and Jackson Pollock, all aged 13, in your art class! What would you do to support the most prosperous way for each of them to behave artistically? They would certainly not all work at the same speed! And the students in your classes are actually as diverse as those notables in the ways they need to approach making things.

                      How do we best use our very limited time with our students?
                      How do we individualize instruction for diverse learners?
                      How do we encourage artistic behaviors that students will continue outside our classrooms?
                      How do we set up the circumstance for our students to challenge themselves through art?

                      kathy douglas
                      k-3 massachusetts, retired
                      teachingforartisticbehavior.org
                      http://bit.ly/17hnjv


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