Sunday, January 2, 2011

FINALS

Remember how that word made you cringe when you were a student? Maybe it still does. It does for me, but for different reasons than when I was a student. Now, I'm the teacher giving the final and grading the final and making sure I have plenty of time for the final. I don't give final exams in art, not even art history, but I give final projects. Budgeting time and getting through all that I want to is tricky and I'm feeling a little scrunched in photography. I'm not going to let it bother me too much, though, because over all I've spaced projects very well this semester in most classes. I also cringe a bit because I proctor midterms and finals for other teachers. It's a policy at my school, one that I don't believe we had at my HS, that teachers do not give their own midterms or finals. Also, art, music and dance do not give finals (all our classes are semesters, so we don't really have midterms) during exam week, but instead give tests or projects during the last week of class. Projects can be due during exam week, though I always make them due before exams start. Still, last year I had students turn in things late. I'd rather then turn them in than not, but I do take off points for lateness. Final exams are worth 20% of their semester grade, so it's a pretty big deal. Teachers make study guides count toward the exam grade, so that helps students get points for doing it AND makes them prepare for the exam, too.

Here are my final exams this semester:
Photography: Students took landscape color photographs on a field trip and will overlap them to create a collage in the style of David Hockney.
Art History: Students will do a Report page for each of the 8 time periods we studied. On each report page they will have the title of the era, the dates of the era, one paragraph on the culture and art of the time period, a list of artists we studied along with their paintings, a recreation or printed copy of a painting from the period, and a paragraph of how that painting exemplifies the art of the time period. Then they will do a recreation of a painting from any of the time periods. They have the option of doing the report pages on a computer or doing them by hand in their sketch books, which is what I recommend and what most are doing.
Arts and Crafts: Basket Weaving--as straightforward as it sounds.
Introduction to Materials and Techniques: Repousse Masks--This class takes students through the Elements of Art. The last element we have yet to cover is texture. If I'd already covered texture, I would do a final project that combined all the elements of art, but I figured I might as well go with the last element and make it the final. Repousse is a multi-step project and can yield a very nice product, so it's suitable as a final project.

I also supervise an online class that students take, but I am not their teacher, so I don't have to worry about their final other than making sure they do everything they need to do to prepare.

Christmas break has been wonderful. I have gotten so much sleep and relaxed. I've also taken more classes at the gym, watched movies and played games with my girls. I've eaten with family... lots of family and made new recipes from new cookbooks. Will and I got all the decorations put away today so we start a new year clean and organized (mostly!). I helped the girls organize their rooms and their new toys. S got many new accessories for her American Girl doll, named Bella, so we had to put them away nicely. Bella has her own little bedroom area in S's room. G has a Diego and Dora town in her room including Diego's rescue center and Dora's house and barn! It was time for her Little People to go. She's keeping some of the updated sets, where the Little People have arms and legs that move, including a pink castle, a car and camper and tent.

While I'm still four years behind in both girl's scrapbooks, I got a about 7 pages done in G's scrapbook, so I applaud myself for doing that. There were no other projects I really wanted to tackle, other than maybe getting a jump start on planning for next semester, but I also gave myself the option of not doing that, so I didn't! I did watch TV and movies and just chilled. It was really nice.

The next few months I'll be busy. S and I are doing the musical at our school/parish community theatre, along with my sister. It should be lots of fun. Neither my sister or I have done musical since high school, though my sister did perform musically in college. She's a music teacher. S is excited to finally be in a play. She wishes she were a child actor, but she realizes we don't have enough money for such a thing (her words.) Both girls will be playing indoor soccer for the next couple months and then spring soccer. So Saturday mornings are basically scheduled (for the rest of my life--with small breaks, maybe). Play practice will be Sunday afternoons and maybe during the week at times. And I'll be fitting the gym in there whenever possible, like tomorrow evening! Yay step class!

Here's to a busy and productive 2011!

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