After, reprimanding the students in all three of my classes for forgetting pencils (and thus violating their contracts *wink*) I gave them the promised 15 minutes to finish their brainstorming. I then passed out pre-made panels for them to pencil in. It's a good thing that I'm doing trial comics before letting the students start their final ones because in every class there was a decent discrepancy among the amounts of time each student needed. Some of them finished the pencil and started to ink while others had only begun their first panels toward the end of class.
While they worked, I met with each table to show them inking techniques to vary the line width and also achieve a good black and white balance. I also demonstrated how to use the pencil lines as a guide for the ink but to use smooth movements rather than follow the pencil exactly; they would erase the pencil later so it was more important not to have jagged ink lines.
The reduced amount of class structure was not a problem for the majority of the students. Few wanted to be interrupted to explain their work to me and were very productive. The only issue I had was a table of third grade girls who couldn't stop gossiping. I only asked them for "more writing, less talking" a couple of times. When the last half hour flew by faster than the girls expected, and they realized just how little they had completed compared to the other table, the lesson in time management spoke for itself. I don't expect to have a problem with the chit-chat next week.
I'm preparing a packet entitled "The Icing on the Cake" for next week. It's going to compile symbols, stylized markings, shapes, fonts, and any type of design element that will help the students use the language of comics to tell their stories. I want to go over it for a few minutes at the beginning of the class and then give them the rest of the time to brainstorm for their final comics. I'm going to take each student aside to discuss their ideas and make sure they have really strong characters.
And I really am going to give that pop quiz.