One of the big changes I made in the classroom this past year was initiating our daily sketchbook work. We continued the work from the first day to the last, with some children filling up a dozen books and others working painstakingly on one.
When looking back on the practice, a few things jump out at me. First, there were days when we were a little pressed for time, and we did not let the children finish their work and invited them to "finish it tomorrow". Why? Is our morning group time so pressing that a child can't finish their own work? Most of the children would hear us start to say hello and close their books, and some still needed a few more minutes. I think this is a place for us to be more flexible.
Something else that struck me was how many decisions we made as teachers. The materials we used; where the children sat; how long they had. It was not as child-centered as it could have been. In the future, I think the children can make decisions about the prompts and the materials just as teachers have been.
We would begin our day with free choice, and then stop for sketchbooks and meeting, and then go off to specials or to the forest, depending on the day. I think that needs to be modified. I would like us to begin our day with sketchbooks and then transition into our day together, with parents taking a minute to look at their child's work and for the child to share and then saying goodbye as the child gets into their work. Unfortunately, because there is a large window of time when the children are dropped off at school (about 45 minutes some days), it is unrealisitic to expect that we will all be working in sketchbooks together first thing in the morning.
The children do enjoy the work, though, and I am looking forward to supporting them in it for another year. And my hope for it is that it will become more child centered and help me, as a teacher, to discover more about each child as an individual.