Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Weeks 7 and 8

My Week 9 was canceled so I'll be holding it tomorrow instead.

Most students have finished their pencils, some have finished ink, and a few have only just finished penciling a first page. This was to be expected for fourth grade since they had a field trip that interfered with the class, but not from the third grade. I put as much iciness into my voice as I could and told a second third grade student that it was a privilege to be in the class and that if the chit chat continued to prevent her from getting work done I would need to speak to Frankie. I'd already had to do that once, and the first student promptly moved herself to the other table to keep herself from the temptation to gossip. The second student turned red and finished an entire page in two minutes.

I don't like to have to be the disciplinarian (especially one that nags) but if I have to do the "I'm the boss" act I'd rather have it short and effective. I can't imagine I'm feared but I think the "threat" was intimidating enough that I won't have to give it again.

At the beginning of each Week 7 class, I passed out two pages, one with five or so photographs of Obama, the other with caricatures of him. I told the students they would have a little time each week to work on the caricature and that we'd vote for the best one as a class in Week 9. I bought 3 combined ink pot/quill kits as prizes.

Frankie had found me extra long paper so I penciled the guidelines onto about sixty or so of these for Week 7. These consisted of a border and then a horizontal gutter in between the top and bottom panels. The gutter I made precisely 1/4'' and required that the students use rulers to keep the 1/4'' gutter consistent throughout the comic. I was a stickler about this and made more than one of the kids erase or start over.

Though they had more freedom to decide on the panel size, I wanted to emphasize that taking the extra time to do a neat layout would help their artwork pop. One of the students that ignored me (despite my instructional diagram on the board and my demonstrations to each of the tables) was one of those that I asked to erase and redo. She did a much neater job the second time and the final layout looked professional. I'm hoping that all of the students can appreciate how impressive the level they are working at is. I'm excited for the hall display because it will show this.

Tomorrow, for the students that have already finished their entire comic, I'm going to sit at one of the tables to do an inking demonstration. I'm bringing in a pot of my Sumi ink and brushes and letting the kids try for themselves. I'll rotate in the students that are still working so they will get a chance too, but under the condition they are working efficiently (I'm looking at you third grade).

I had told the students we would be doing flip books in Week 11 but without that extra week I'll have to do my best to squeeze it in to Week 10. At this point, at least a third or so of the students will need all of Week 9 and possibly some of Week 10 to finish their comics. I'll will have a better idea after tomorrow.

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