If I could choose to be more talented at something, it would be art. I would love to be able to draw and paint properly. When my pupils tell me that they are no good at drawing or art, I tell them that they just need to practice and that they will improve. Sometimes I even take my own advice. One year I bought a set of watercolours, another year a set of drawing crayons and last year I bought a sketch book and a set of pencils. I soon run out of steam though and they sit, unused on the shelf.
One reason is that I don’t know what to draw or paint and lack ideas or inspiration. However this Summer, I came across The Sketchbook Challenge by Sue Bleiweiss. It is full of ideas and projects to get you started on filling a sketchbook. There is a blog as well with a monthly theme for people to try out www.sketchbookchallenge.com as well as a flickr site for people to show what they have tried.
The ideas in the book are all varied and I was inspired to start using my sketch book all over again. I chose the first theme in the book which is Circles.
It might help me improve my art skills but actually that doesn’t matter. It’s just been nice doing something totally different and experimenting a bit.
Of course, wearing my teacher hat, I immediately started thinking of how I could use this in the classroom. We have sketch books for the children but I don’t think that I use them effectively. It tends to be a lot of “do a practise one in the sketch book and then do it properly” whereas the sketchbook should be a collection of lots of different ideas.
I can easily see how I can use the sketchbook challenge with my class. Themes such as circles have so many links and it will be interesting to see how the children cope with a less structured type of art activity. I can also see how they would have a lot of fun with the theme of dwellings and have already started planning a unit of work based on that idea.
So following on from my previous post, another thing that I am going to try this year is to use sketch books much more as they should be used and to really give my pupils the chance to practise their art and drawing skills in a different way.