It’s human to worry about things that might not happen. At the moment there is a lot we don’t know. It appears likely that year 10 will be the first year group to return to schools in the UK.
When will they return?
Will it be before summer?
How much work they have completed?
How much time will we get with them if it isn’t a normal timetable?
Will the exam boards assess them in the normal way next year?
There are still far too many unknowns.
There are going to be gaps in your student’s knowledge in every subject. Teachers do have a bad habit of passing on their stress to their students as they try to communicate the importance of covering the specification. It’s hard not to do this and to help me avoid this I need a plan.
Creating a Welcoming Atmosphere
Part of me is thinking, how am I going to cope with the rigors of the school day after such a long period of time teaching remotely. My students will be feeling the same. I am going to make the art department a place they are happy to return to. I’m going to welcome them and be as positive and reassuring as I can.
Dive Straight In
I’m going to get them to complete a task in the very first lesson. This is going to be instead of trying to assess what they have or haven’t done. I’m going to plan for what I think of as a ‘one less and wonder’. This means they’re going to start and complete a task in one lesson. This could be a monoprint if I provide the images to boost their quantity of recording. Or it could be creating some tonal value scales using a variety of techniques such as shading, hatching and pointillism. This would be a relaxing task that simply gets them making marks on a page and leaving the lesson having achieved something.
Once I know what their timetable is like I will be able to plan for ‘one-to-ones’. A ‘one-to-ones is where I have a 10 to 15 minute meeting with a student either before school, at a break time or lunchtime, or even after school. This might sound like a lot of effort but it is never wasted and as you work your way through your list of students the lessons become easier and easier as each student creates a list of things to do and things to improve. I have done this all my teaching career and my students value it. I have a personal tutorial document that might help you.
Planning Against the Assessment Objectives
During the one-to-one ‘s I will be looking how they can best achieve against the assessment objectives. I will be looking for gaps and areas of weakness. The time will be best spent making sure that they have achieved each assessment objective to the best of their ability. In a worst-case scenario I will be making sure they have a least something for each assessment objective. Have they recorded enough? Have they used a broad enough range of media? Is there enough experimentation? Have they developed more than one idea? Have they developed their work at all? Lots of things to consider.
Plan a Portfolio Day
At my school we have always had a Saturday sometime before Easter when we open up the art department for students to come in and finish off work. We have called this day portfolio day. I will be planning to have a Saturday where students if they wish, can come in and work all day on their art. I tempt them in with the promise of tea, coffee biscuits and music. Lots of them appreciate the time to be able to complete work with my help.
If I have created a positive atmosphere for my students, got them creating art straight away, identified gaps and areas of weakness and helped them plan to fill these gaps and make improvements, they and I will feel a little bit more in control. That will be a good place to have got to.
FYI: The photo which is the cover image of this post is by photographer Alfred Stieglitz.