Okay, so my first quarter of CB is under my belt, and while it went pretty well, I still feel like I have so many questions to find answers to and so many methods of "things" that need to be changed. At the end of the quarter I gave the students in each class a survey to get some honest feedback about what they thought of the CB classroom. Overall, and hands down, they really liked having the choice to determine their time in the art room each day. And because they liked it so much, it's not something that I really want to see go away. I honestly cannot see myself happily returning to traditional methods (everyone does the same project at the same time and moves on to the next at the same time) As mentioned in a previous post, I noticed that students started to peeter out with what they could think of to do about 2/3 of the way through the quarter, so I want to fix that somehow. Currently I'm thinking of presenting the option for three or four different projects with any given media and allowing them to choose which one from that shorter list that appeals to them. I think this might be the way to go as they still get a choice, but they also have the guidance of a list of projects that are worthwhile and developmentally and age appropriate. A lot of the projects that I was getting toward the end were not at all well developed or thought out and were done only for the sake of earning points. On that note, I'm pretty sure that the points system is going to be gone this go-round and instead I'm going to have the segmented lists for the media and have students choose one from each list to complete. Definitely a little different from last time because I want to see what type of response this method evokes in the students and how well this system will hold up for the whole quarter instead.
But overall, by far, the thing that is pressing on my mind the most is how do I show/explain each of the stations/media/materials to all of the students BEFORE they begin working on things? I have such a limited time with them (one quarter) that I don't feel that I can take too many days doing the set up and explanation with them. Nor do I feel right in letting them just jump in and then backtracking by let's say demoing paper mache building when a number of students have started already and they realize that the work they've done already could have been done better or maybe needs to be restarted. If I had shown them ahead of time, that loss could have been avoided, but how can I possibly show everyone everything before they get too involved in any one thing? How can they make the choices about what they want to do if they don't know what is available? How do I show them all of this and not take weeks of the quarter away from their work time and bore them to death as they wait to get started with projects? This is my big dilemma. Any suggestions? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?