I totally underestimated how long it would take to complete these projects! I'm adding an extra class period for students to complete them so that will be 4 class periods on one project. I've never done that before with 4th-6th... since I only see them every other week that's almost 2 full months on one project! I was super frustrated after my first class this morning when I felt like only maybe a third of the students were really trying to do their best work. Part of me wanted to just tell the students their artwork would go up in the hallway "as is" since I knew they were more interested in goofing off than working hard. (That was suggested to me by another teacher last year to make the students be accountable...) But then part of me doesn't want to punish the students who have been working really hard. Also, I'm afraid if I put them up now, it would just reflect poorly on me. I didn't think I was making this assignment too difficult, I just need to figure out how to deal with the attitudes that sprouted over the summer. I started off trying to use "table talk"- if you are talking it should only be to the people at your table, only be about the project, and only be a whisper. I know the students know what those words mean, most just don't care enough to keep it up for more than 30 seconds. I've talked to some of the 6th grade teachers and they try the same thing and have the same issues. I could take points but the talkers conveniently quit when I turn around making it hard for me to pick out individuals instead of the whole class. Oh well, live and learn. Tomorrow is another day.
EDIT: I just talked to my mentor from last year and she gave me some ideas to try out.
What are your rules/procedures for the Art room and how do you enforce them? I'm trying something different than last year with "table talk" and while it works really well with some grades, it apparently doesn't mean much to most 6th grade students. Do you have a good system that has always worked for you? Share the love and help out us newbies! :)