Friday, September 28, 2012

You have how long with your kids? How do you even learn their names?

I feel like today is an appropriate day to write this post as it is the last day of the first 6 weeks. Yes, I only have my classes for 6 weeks and then it's time for a new group of kiddo's. It's even worse when the 6 weeks turns into 5 weeks for various reasons (holidays, 8th grade DC trip, the start of school when the first week is only 3 days). We try our best to get all of the kids to get two quality projects in that time but sometimes it's so hard. We just run out of time. So what do we do? Let them rush the last project or scrap the last project and have the kids do art history or elements and principles of art work? Or do we have them do one big project and one mini project? It's disappointing for the kids, too. They really want to do more than 2 projects. Then what happens when a kid doesn't finish? Do we just not grade them on that project and exempt them from it in the gradebook? Do we hunt them down to finish it, and yes, it requires hunting. I swear they hide from me when I come looking for them. And then I get the, "ohhhh yeah, I forgot about that!". I've tried sending home artwork to finish but more often than not, it doesn't come back. 
So not only are we trying to crank out as many projects as we can, I have to learn a whole new set of names and get to know a whole new group of students. I had a really hard time with it my first year but now that I know most of the kids, I only have a few names to learn each 6 weeks. 
Apparently the middle schools used to have 9 week long classes for unified arts but I doubt that will ever come back. At least the kids have tons of choices when it comes to electives. They get P.E., family and consumer science, mod tech, discovering computers, health, music, 3 different foreign languages, 2-D and 3-D art in 7th grade and ceramics, sculpture, painting and drawing in 8th grade. So even though the 6 weeks are nuts, at least we are ending up with well rounded students. 

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