SchoolArts Magazine

APR 2019

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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T H E O P E N A R T R O O M A s a TAB (Teaching for Artistic Behavior) teacher, I've found it's possible to have thirty students working on thirty different assignments in each class. That's a lot of students developing dif- ferent ideas, exploring different tech- niques, while working in different media. I'm often asked, "How do you keep track of all those projects?" The honest answer is, I don't. The Facilitator I frequently present information to everyone at the start of class but the majority of my time is spent working individually with each student. While working one-on-one, my role becomes that of a facilitator. Students and I discuss their project ideas, I suggest artists they may want to research, and offer media and technique recommen- dations they may want to explore. Memory Problems Though I try my best to keep track of all that information in my head, doing so isn't really feasible. My lack of memory is a source of embarrass - ment for me. It's also a disappoint- ment to the student who expects m e to remember what he or she is working on. I routinely ask my stu- dents to remind me. They frequently r emind me that we talked about it yesterday. "I know we talked yester- day," I say, "but can you refresh my me mory?" But what if this moment of tempo- rary amnesia could be skipped? What if all the information was available to me the moment I sat down next to the student? Enter the Burn Book. The Burn Book Okay, to start with, the Burn Book is a horrible title. The origin of the name is the 2004 teen comedy, Mean Girls. In this fictional film, the Burn Book was created as a way to docu - ment rumors about all the students a t North Shore High School. While the purpose of the Burn Book in the movie is, well, mean, the concept— capturing information so it can be referenced at a later date—is genius. If we replace the nasty rumors with students' project information, while maintaining a certain sense of humor, the Burn Book becomes a rather useful tool. But exactly what goes into the Burn Book? Here's a description I developed this year and currently use with my students: My Burn Book At the top of each page, I write the student's name. For new classes with students whose names I have yet to learn, I print and glue down a thumb - nail photo. Although I track attendance o nline, I also keep track of student attendance on their individual page. This helps me have conversations about the importance of being in class, especially if the student has accumu - lated a few too many absences. Next on the page, I track the stu- dent's current project. I do this during t he design and development phase of their work. I take notes about the vision they have for their art. I write down both the "what" they want to create as well as the "how" they intend to accomplish their goal. This is the crux of the book. With one glance, I can instantly be reminded of any previous conversations the student and I had. Right below that section, I add Tracking Student Progress with the Burn Book Maintaining a Burn Book is a beneficial method for tracking and managing student progress. Illustration by Isabella Charles. CONTINUED ON PAGE 55. Ian Sands 12 APRIL 2019 SchoolArts

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