Thursday, January 5, 2012

In the Art Room: The Smartest Artist

I've been at this art teacher business for something approaching 15 years and during that decade and a half, I've learned I suck at consistency. If you are in the teaching field, you know there are all sorts of tricks of the trade for establishing routine and discipline in your classroom. Using sticker charts, pulling popsicle sticks, putting marbles in a jar, you teachers know this stuff.

I created the "Masterpiece Gallery" years ago with frames donated from a framing shop that was going out of business. I used cork that comes by the roll as the backing and covered the cork with jersey fabric in primary colors. 



Well, I've tried all that. And I hate it. I can't keep up with it, I forget to give a sticker or drop a marble (I've lost too many along the way) and it just ends up being more work with less results. For me. For some of you, it may work beautifully. But you might not have that trouble with consistency like I do.  You jerk.

However, I recently did come up with something that I can keep up with. It's a two-minute activity I do with the kids as they are lining up to exit. I hand one random kid the inflatable microphone, making him/her our host and I shout "And now it's time for..." and the kids reply "the Smartest Artist!".

I then proceed to ask the kids questions about what we've covered today. For example, my fourth grade is doing metal tooling. So my questions were "What activity were we doing today?" "What is it called when you dent the metal in with your tool? (embossing)" "What is the Egyptian symbol for life?"(we are using Egyptian symbols in our design). You get the idea. As I ask the questions, the host will call on a boy or a girl and we keep score on the dry erase board.

The kids really seem to enjoy it. In fact today I was asked if we could make sure to clean up on time (because Mrs. Inconsistent is ALWAYS running late) so we'd have enough time to play.


Today, my littlest friends, the kindergarten, learned how to play a fill on the drums. They were wildly excited. Afterward, we drew self portraits of us rocking out on the drum set. Many thanks to Forks Drum Closet http://www.forksdrumcloset.com  for the generous donation!
 My art classes are a little on the short side. I see my kids for 30 minutes twice a week. That's IF I'm not running late. And in between getting supplies out, giving directions and cleaning up (if that's what you call what we scramble to do in 30 seconds or less), we are usually at a 17 minute work time. So this short little recap is just right for me to keep up with.
My amazing third grade artists. We spent many classes learning about the proportions of the face, shading and, of course Egypt. After capturing their Egyptian likeness, the kids created an almost life size sarcophagus.

Once the kids painted their designs in black, I introduced them to the metallic paints (insert choir of angels singing). To them, this is the best thing ever. The temptation to paint their nails is strong...but the impending wrath of their art teacher is stronger...as they know!

Okay, look. I don't claim to be the Smartest Artist. But if you need an end-of-the-class, everyone-loves-it, educational activity, I say try it. You might like it.

23 comments:

  1. Anonymous1/14/2012

    LOVE this idea. We are doing Egyptian art in my elementary art classes and this is a great way to create some fun Egyptian artwork. Thank you for the idea. Wow!!! 30 minutes???? I thought 45 was too short. You go girl!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love this idea. It is hard to recap even if you have a longer art class.

    What I do at line-up time, to keep them quiet and not touching, is "zip, lock, freeze". Zip (your lips), lock(your hands), freeze (you can only move your eyes and breath). The idea is if they move they sit down where they are standing. They still can't make noise or bother the others. I do the old be honest and if you move sit down, routine with them while they are frozen. But what is great is I can do this with they whole class in line, or with just the ones that were cleaned up ready to go. It can motivate the rest to get done and in line. I can also walk around and get things ready for the next class while they play.
    Eventually a say "unfreeze and stand up" so we can play another round. I works great with 2-5th grades. My K-1 love "3-2-1 hush-puppies".

    BTW it is hard work to be consistent. I don't like any of those sticker charts, marbles or whatever either. Never works for me either.
    Have a good end of year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What is 3-2-1 hush-puppies? Thanks! :)

      Delete
  3. Haha- your posts crack me up. And GREAT ideas! I'm scramming to get ready for my first year in elementary art and I'm lovin your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous7/30/2013

    After 29 years teaching art-I've learned some things from you-and got some great new ideas here! Thank for posting!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank You for making me laugh out loud!... and realize that I am not the only consistently late, non-consistent art teacher there is!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Do you give points for your game, or rewards???

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love your post, and am going to use you world class artists board.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous2/21/2015

    The amazing thing about teaching...is that we too are always learning.
    Its been 33+ years for me! Still loving it!
    enjoyed your blog... Thought that I have done and seen it all...but every class everyday 30 mins?.
    I applaud you Susan

    ReplyDelete
  9. AMAZING!!! I am so completely inspired for next year! I am teaching middle school art, but would love to go back to the elementary level. Thanks fo so many great ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Do you keep a record of who wins or do you erase it when the next group comes in?
    Love this and love your site!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Marjorie! The kids erase the previous class's scores before they start. I try to make it so we always have a boy/girl tie. The older ones are toooootally on to me about that one!

      Delete
  11. I do art questions at the end of class or sometimes random in the middle of class about art vocabulary or artists facts I've taught. If they get it right they can win one of my super cool recycled new crayons I make out of old broken crayons using silicone molds in shapes. They LOVE them, I never use them for behavior but they have to have been behaving to be called on so I do it in a secret way. I find them begging me to ask an art question. I keep them in a candy jar and they get to pick their own.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great idea! Love it!

      Delete
    2. Would love a visual of your "crayons". I need to find some "prizes" that are cheap, easy, creative, that the kids like and this seems to be the ticket.

      Delete
  12. Pretty sure if you are art minded you are bad at consistency. I may be wrong but I suffer from the same problem. Even in parenting. My husband is awesome at it and me not so much. That is my worry as a new teacher that I won't be able to maintain consistency.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's tough, I know!! That is why...folks like you and me, we gotta keep it simple, that's the KEY!! make your management something that works for YOU...and you will be able to stick with it :)

      Delete
  13. I do palette points by my door and they have to be lined up quietly and if they answer the question of the day, that person gets to hang the palette point. For Kinders, I say: I see 10 kindergartners smiling at me...I should see 25...hmmm, then I start counting down the line -- I see oh 1, 2, 3, 4...oh wait, 5 isn't ready to smile (hard to talk and smile at the same time). Or we play silent lines (where we make horizontal, vertical, diagonal, wiggly lines with our arms)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  14. Yap, indeed about consistency with routine and discipline. Lol, charts, stars and those clip charts out the door with 40+ students K-5. I loose track real quick of already addressed, how many times, what again. Hence I use behavior ticket quick and easy with seing 800-900+ student a week.
    Student place their name on the ticket promising to work on their behavior: "In art class, I will practice self-control and good manners". Honestly that is all I got. I haven't figured out the whole conquence thing for repeated offender with large classes. I will have to give the Smartist Artist a try. Hmmm, maybe if a student got a ticket they can't be host?

    Eek love the Egyptian art project...Wow, you did it in 30 minutes? What is the "magical" trick? I struggle with clean up time wanting to squeeze one more thing. I keep thinking it takes 5 minutes for 44+ student to clean up. Reality check, maybe on a good day with dry materials only, 8 minutes. Thankful for 45 minutes but about time all the classes ( up to 3 different class teachers last year K-5) arrive and transition into art, for the late comers and the late late comers I would have to repeat the last 5 minutes, it seems 20 minutes of art and then scramble to clean and line up.
    Thank you sharing and your honesty.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm just now learning about Class DoJo. It's free and lets you reward students, take pictures of them working and share them with teachers and parents, etc. There's even music you can play (all school appropriate) and a timer, etc in the Toolkit. I am going to try using it and have the classroom teachers invite me to join their classes- that way I don't enter all of the student names and they'll maintain the list as students move or join us.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm currently student teaching in India and I'm starting my first teaching job in elementary in January. I'll be teaching Kindergarten-6th at (not 1...not 2...but...) 3 different schools! (they're two small towns next to each other). I'm really enjoying all of your blog posts as I'm trying to collect ideas for the coming semester! Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Keep up your amazing classroom!

    ReplyDelete
  17. For management, I have 7 different colored woven necklaces that my volunteer makes and I place them on seven students following our "Hill Hawk Habits" AKA rule system in our building. Anyway, I pull a color laminated square out of a bucket at the end of class and the color square that matches the necklace, wins. I do have some physical prizes but I put things on a "ticket" like eat lunch with a friend, or positive phone call home, positive postcard home, a Hill Hawk ticket (this thing our school does for prizes), or they can pass out the necklaces and pull the color as a prize the following class. I have a slip of paper I give them with prize options listed on it and they can decide then or later. They must present the ticket when redeeming their prize. That way, I don't have to keep track of anything really. I just pull the color and say "Congrats! Here's your slip." Management with it is easy.
    By the way, I love your decorations in your class!! Do you have fire codes? I have asked about certain things in the past for decorations but our school is strict on fire codes (amount of paper, furniture from home, etc.)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)