Tuesday, August 11, 2015

In the Art Room: First Day(s) of Art!

Hello, cats and kittens and welcome to the very first day(s) of art! It's been a wild -n- crazy week so far and, y'all, IT'S ONLY TUESDAY. Which means we're having fun, right?! Well, somebody is, anyway. Glue sniffing will do that to a gal. 
For the last couple of years, I've shared with you what my first day(s) of art class look like (go here and here for that, y'all) . I keep saying "day(s)" because my schedule is a lil different than the rest of the art teacherin' universe (I ain't complainin', I'm just sayin'). I see my first and second graders for 30 minutes, twice a week; my third and fourths for 60 minutes, once a week and kindergartentown (who don't start until next week) for 40 minutes, once a week. So! What I've got for you today is what I teach the youngers over the course of two classes and the olders in one class. Make sense? 

Before we get started, lemme just tell you a couple of things I decided at the start of this school year:

* My room doesn't have to be perfect but it does have to be functional on the first day. Y'all, I used to spend entire summers in my art room. Rearranging. Organizing. Making visuals. It was exhausting, time-consuming and I never gave myself a break! This year, I seriously spent a handful of days in my room preparing. I always redecorate my room with a theme (see my Paris-inspired art room and my Asian-themed art room) but this year, I've only just begun updating my decor. Mostly because I knew I didn't need it at the start of the year and I was enjoying every last drop of my summer!

* Introduce the art room, routines and other new stuffs gradually. I used to try to cram in everything in the first couple of art classes. What do you think the kid's first impression of art class was? Rules, Do's and Don't's, Procedures and Zzzzzz-snoozefest. I think that whole deal is flawed. The kids only hear about the first two minutes of whatever it is you are talking about anyway. You go over one million boring-ish things with them all at once and you've lost them! I want their first impression of art class to be a fun one so we are covering those necessary things in baby bites, over several art classes. And doing some fun stuff everyday, like painting on the first day of art class!
So, speaking of talking too much, here's a clip of me talking too much TO YOU about what goes down that first day. I go into more detail about what you see here in the post...but if you have any questions, you can find me in the comments, y'all. 
Those flash cards I mentioned? They say: inspire, art, artist, create, creative, imagine, unique, etc. All words that describe the kids, art class and what artists do! My first thru fourth grade students read these at the door. For kindergarten, I show them shape flash cards. More in this vocab blog post. 
This is the view of my art room from the doorway. This is what the students see when they enter my room. The "teacher chair" is on the right and the other students are to sit on the floor in rows in front of the "teacher" (the quotes are cuz the teacher is a student I picked at the door to both monitor student behavior and play the game "see, think or wonder".)
Here's what the kids seated on the floor see. A view of my giant telly with an image from our Artist Inspiration, Henri Rousseau. When I am finished quizzing the kids at the door, I ask the "teacher" who was the best behaved boy and girl. Those two kids will get to be the host of our end-of-art-class game The Smartest Artist
At this point, I take over and introduce our Word of the Week. What the kids don't know is that I am secretly introducing them to our art class routines as we do this each and every art class! Whenever they hear the WoW, they are to "whoop! whoop" which is one part annoying and two parts fun, depending on your mood.
After talking about our WoW and our Artist Inspiration, I (re)introduce my students to Jes, our mascot/traveling tiger! I made a Jes a couple of years ago (details here) and he traveled around the world like Flat Stanely. It was so fun, the kids loved it...and then the poor dude was shipped to China never to be seen or heard from again (in my imagination, he took a turn to Bangkok and decided it was so fun he never wanted to leave!). So I made a new one and the kids are so excited to send him packing. I'll keep you posted on how that goes as I'm going to need your help!
Then we made a list of all the places we thought Jes should go!
After a quick stretch, we talked about rules. Oh, rules. Double snooze. But we made ours all sorts of wild and crazy which I think I explained in el video. So, we'll just leave it at that!
 We have a new incentive this year with a sticker chart! I've never EVER done a sticker chart, y'all. I'm seriously the most unorganized and inconsistent person you will ever meet in your life. However, I juuuuust might be able to do this one. All the special area folk in my school are on board so we are hoping to do it together. The kids have the chance to earn two stickers by following the two thoughts above. 
At the end of a quarter, whatever grade level class has the most stickers is rewarded with (a super cheap/easy) party! Like a 5 minute dance party at the end of class, popcorn party(tho we have so many allergies, y'all. It might have to be peanut-free/glutenless/flavorless/why-bother-living candy of some sort), you get the idea. Who else does this? Has it worked for you? TEACH ME YOUR MAGICAL WAYZZZZ.
At this point, I wanna hear the kids talk because I'm tired of hearing myself. So I call roll. The kids are to respond with a "Hello, Mrs. Stephens" (which helps the newbies learn my name, to hear it said 20 other times!) and then I ask them a silly question like those seen above. Yesterday, I asked one boy, who was new, when his birthday was and he replied "Today!" So, OF COURSE we had to stop, drop and sing Happy Birthday. The kids love these questions because they are random and ridiculous. Which is always a good time, says me.
 Oh, lookie! I can's! I changed up how I post these and I'm really digging it. Let's zoom in, shall we?
 Big, simple, kid-friendly and with visuals! Thanks, Dollar Tree.
This will also help the kids know what supplies to gather for art projects of the day.
So this was the beginning-of-the-school year decorating that I did which I felt was necessary for that very first day. The cute stuff will come later. And when it does, room tour
Another new thing for us this year, the Look What I Learned Today board! I call on three kids to tell me one thing and jot it down. While I do, the kids do their "ooguh, ooguh, OOOOGUHHH" chat. It's fun to see what sticks with them! 
Our wrap up game at the end of class is The Smartest Artist. The Masterpiece Gallery is for the fun art the kids like to bring in to share. 
 Now, for the younger kids, that was the end of art class on day one. But for the olders, the fun was just starting. I told them their table assignments, sent them shopping at the store, had them drop their supplies off at their seats and meet me at my new demo table (seen in the center). After a quick texture painting and printing demo, the kids set to work!
This year, at Tennessee Arts Academy, the super awesome Laura Lohmann of Painted Paper, talked just about everyone into painting with our students on the first day of art. So we did! 
With a limited palette of yellow, blue, turquoise and white, we painted and mono-printed as many papers as we could until it was time to clean up.
We now have a huge stack of these beauties to use for our upcoming jungle-themed projects! Henri Rousseau, eat your heart out...
 So much happiness.
And a beautiful mess at the end of the day! I can't wait to share with you what we do with our papers but that will just have to wait. Mama needs to soak these feets! 

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46 comments:

  1. Cassie,
    When you are finished with a messy activity, do you tear up the colored paper on the tables or do you keep it there?

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  2. Hey Ashley! I don't know if you can tell, but on the color table clothes, there are white papers...we use those as our "messy mats" to clean our brushes and such. Those papers are so pretty that we'll probably use them for collage projects. The color paper, I'll leave that on for another week or more, flip it over use it some more and then trash it after about 4-6 weeks. My tables are very old and gnarly...so the table coverings is a big improvement!

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  3. Kristin8/11/2015

    With my sticker chart the kids have to earn a certain number and then they earn the incentive. That way every class wins even the ones who really struggle...it just takes them longer. Otherwise they see themselves so far behind other classes they kind of give up.

    We aren't allowed to use food as a reward so my prizes have been: listen to music during art (their choice of music not mine), choose your own seat for the day, and free choice day (one piece of paper to do as they wish). Once a semester they can earn an ARTy pARTy which is a combo of all 3. They love all the reward options and I love that they're free and easy!

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    1. I love those ideas!! I was thinking that...when the classes fall behind, they would give up. Thank you for sharing your great ideas!!

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  4. I also used a class sticker chart. For the winning class, we had a "pop-pop party": popcorn & popsicles!

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    1. OMG, sooooooooooOOOOOOooooo doing that!! I LOVE that idea! Thanks, Phyl!!

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  5. You are so awesome! You will be a teacher that your students remember for a lifetime. I am so glad I discovered your blog because your posts and outfits always make me smile. BTW, my husband bought me a beautiful Stickley gong for my 35th birthday.

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    1. Haha, so I'm not alone in my gong-gifting husbandry, eh? Thank you for your kind words and for dropping by!

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  6. Hi Cassie,
    Love how you set up your first days! I might try the student "teacher" helpers and a twist on the smartest artist game. Thanks for sharing all of your super ideas!
    I feel guilty taking without giving... So I wanted to share one of my teacher tricks with you! 😊 I see you've got your demo table set up by the student work tables... That's how I do it too! But, I always had issues with kids crowding around for the demo, so a few years ago, I came up with a little ditty, "Toes on the tape, standing up straight, quiet would be great!" I just use gym-floor tape in a rectangle on the floor around the demo table and they can see where to stand. And no elbows on the table because they are "standing up straight"! 😀 this has been a life-saver for me and maybe it could help you, too!

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    1. I JUST PUT TAPE AROUND MY DEMO TABLE BEFORE 4TH GRADE. YOU JUST CHANGED MY LIFE!! Seriously, genius!! Thank you for the super amazing suggestion and cute little ditty!

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  7. Hi Cassie,
    I LOVE your routines for beginning class.....definitely trying them AND. Your Smartes Artist game is a perfect line up actibpvity..just ordered the inflatable microphones!! The kids are gonna love it. I'm making one of my 6 art jobs be "Game Hosts for Smartest Artist " and have them read review and critical thinking questions from cards on wall pocket.

    For the behavior points system I love your idea but I'm going to use tally marks on chart. POINTS SYSTEM:
    Students earn points for WHOLE Class:

    1 point for entering class quietly
    1 point for listening and following directions
    1 point for working QUIETLY and being respectful to others
    1 point for good clean up
    1 point for standing in dismissal line correctly

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    1. Love it!! The kids will enjoy Smarest Artist, my students do! I used to do multiple points...but I can't keep up with it! I'm a little too crazy and all over the place (I mean, did you SEE that video?!) to keep up. I love your ideas! But I had to limit mine to just two for my sanity's sake. I'm all about what works for you!

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  8. Hi Cassie,
    Do you change artist of the week weekly or keep it same artist for the duration of the project? for example, Are all grade levels creating Rousseau inspired art for the month? Thank you!

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    1. Yes, artist of the week changes weekly. However, Rousseau will be a focus of ours for a couple of weeks. So I'll keep teaching about him...but I'll introduce artists weekly that might have painted at the same time or in a similar style or contemporary artists. We only touch on those weekly artists for a moment, just enough to expose the kids to as much art as possible!

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  9. I'm so glad I found your blog!! One because you're awesome (!!) and two because you have (some) short classes like I do!! So many other art teacher's "have it better than me" and it's hard to adapt their ideas to fit my schedule. I teach K-4 and only have 30 minutes with all of them twice during a 6 day rotation. Except on Wednesdays which are always early-release for Teacher Collaboration Time/PD - on those days I only see my classes for 25 minutes. I have 10-11 classes A DAY with absolutely no transition time between them. Icing on the cake? This is my first year teaching Art..... 😂 😒 (I did teach 1st/2nd grade for 10 years, so I'm not a total nube, but....). Can you just imagine what my first day looked like??? 😂 Anyway - my question for you is: Do you use artists as your "vehicle" for teaching the elements/principles of design/standards/techniques? It's hard for me to grasp how to plan lessons on all of that with just 30 minutes (less really) to deliver said lessons AND have them DO something.... Just wondering.... If there is a post about that somewhere, link me up!! I will happily read your stuff!! 😁 Thanks for sharing your greatness!!

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    1. STOP THE TRAIN: 11 classes IN ONE DAY?! Bless your heart, as they say in my neck o' the woods. That's just meanness! Since my classes are also short, that's why I do word of the week (where you could introduce the elements of art! Line one week, Shape the next) this way you are introducing that vocab but in a short amount of time. Artist tie-in could be Kandinsky for line week and Paul Klee for shape...just a thought. But KEEP IT SHORT because they still need time to create! After a quick 3-5 minutes on line/artist, dive into lesson instruction and let them go at it. In reality, that means sometimes my kids have 10-15 minutes to create IF I'M LUCKY. You're going to get really good at talking fast and moving at a quick pace. You can do it! Feel free to email me if you have any questions...cassieart75@gmail.com

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    2. YUP!! On Days 1 & 4 I have 11 classes (and that extra one is a kinder class) and on Days 2,3,5,and 6 I "only" see 10. Thankfully my grades are always back to back (2 second grades, 2-3 kinders, 2 thirds, 2 firsts, then 2 fourths). So one class sets up tables and the second class cleans up - while I talk a mile a minute.... I love your suggestions!! I will definitely be switching things up and adding WoW to help me fit in all that vocabulary. Thank you so much!! You will most likely be getting an email (or more) from me as I hit more road blocks. 😀 I truly appreciate your willingness to help!! 😀 Thank you, thank you!!!

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  11. I used a class sticker chart but just for the older grades (3rd, 4th, and 5th). The reward was that when they got to 30 stickers, they had an art party. So every class was able to have their art party - it just took some classes way longer than others to get to 30 stickers, if you know what I mean. In my school, teachers are not allowed to ever give out food or drinks (sooo sad) because of allergies/parent diet preferences for their child) so the party consisted of a Free Art Day, where I basically set up the tables with all the art supplies for painting, drawing, modeling clay (the oily kind that doesn't dry out), yarn and fabric for weaving and sewing, plus fun crafty stuff like collage materials, stickers, and stamping. The week before a class's earned party, I set out a clipboard where kids could write down songs they wanted to hear during the party. Kids chose all the current pop tunes, but I warned them that I would listen to the lyrics and make sure they were school appropriate (no mention of sex, drugs, alcohol, swear words, or crime). So anyway, I made a playlist of their chosen songs and that was played during the art party. The kids were allowed to move about the room and work on whatever art activities they wanted to, talk the whole time, and listen to their music. The kids absolutely loved it, and it did help with behavior, for sure, but I have to admit, it was quite a bit of work.

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    1. That sounds like a lot of work...but how fun!! And i'm sure the kids LOOOOVED it! I love the playlist idea! I might have to implement that. Thank you!!

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    2. mary kernan4/09/2016

      Hi - love your site! I am at 2 schools k-4 29 classes a week - my sticker chart ties in with 3 respect cards. If the class keeps all respects on the board during their art time, they get a sticker. 10 stickers = art party. usually a musical table art party. I set up 6 different tables with "fun" activities all art related and they spend about 5-6 minutes at each table. when the music stops - rotate to the next spot. I like to pull out little things like playdough, scratch art, texture books etc...

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  12. Hi Cassie,
    I LOVE your blog and how helpful everyone's ideas are! For example, you introduce Rousseau and then you teach just one grade level or more grade levels inspired by Rousseau? And then other grade levels are taught projects inspired by other artists you introduce weekly? Thank you !

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    1. Hi!! Okay. So, I introduce one artist to everyone for the first 3-ish minutes of each class...even if that artist isn't our focus artist. Meaning, we may be learning about van Gogh and creating a landscape but our artist of the week is Monet! The cool part is, tho, you can say, "hey, Monet likes to paint landscapes just like our focus artist van Gogh....can you think of any differences or similarities?" Just one more way to throw more info at the kids. :)

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  13. What a fun, idea filled blog!! If Jes wants to travel to Western Canada, send me an email. He's welcome to come for a visit.

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    1. YES! Please!! My email is cassieart75@gmail.com. Love to send him your way!!

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  14. We do a sticker chart at my school. In the past, my rewards are always the free ones- sit by a friend, free choice day and even having art outside when the weather is nice. Love the tip about listening to music in the comment above. This year we are calling our chart the "century club" as our school is 100 years old this year. So classes can earn five points a class and if they make to 100, they get something really fab. We haven't worked it all out yet, but it will be something good! I hope!

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    1. Oh, I love that!! Thank you!!

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  15. Anonymous8/14/2015

    Just wondering where you get the information for your power points?

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    1. Hi! You know, I love to use wikkipedia and I also like using children's books for the kind of Cliff Notes version of what I share with the kids. Those Mike Venezia books are my jam.

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  16. You have a fabulous art room, and I love your blog. I've been teaching 29 years in the same school (K-5). Many years spent on a cart, the last 10 in a classroom of my own. I find your energy amazing. I love my job, I don't love the other stuff that happens. You have great things going on in your room and seem to be super organized.

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  17. Hi Cassie! I just discovered your site and I love it! Thank you so much for your incredibly thorough and detailed explanations!! Quick question- what material do you use for your white boards for the "I can" statements and "what we learned?" Are those just white board stickers? How do they hold up? Thank you!

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    1. Hi Laura! Those are just fancy posters that have been laminated. You can write on 'em with vis a vis markers or dry erase!

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  18. Oh Cassie! I'm so jealous. You really are spoil rotten, I have to agree with you. Your classroom is HUGE!!! I can't believe how big it is. I might also be extra sensitive when it comesto classroom because I lost my room this year. My school is growing so they needed my class to use for an extra grade that is was added. They are planning a new building but its not going to be ready for at least 2 years. As a result i'm on a cart, which it has been a challenge. so when i see classrooms like yours I can't help to get a little melancholic and a bit jealous as well.
    You are so organize and you have your room so well put together. I want to be your student. You must be a joy to be around, I can't imagine how magical of a teacher you are.
    Anyways I love you. I love your creativity, I love your authenticity and originality. And your room!!!! :)

    Jen Orcutt

    P.S.: are those doors (next to the TV) closets? are those yours too?

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    1. Oh, hugs, friend! I was in a portable for a handful of years before moving into the Big House ;) Then I moved on to my Dream School and I couldn't believe that art room!! I was sold! And, if you must know, those doors are closets (salt in wound much?) one is kiln, two are storage and I have an office. I know. It's okay to hate me.

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  19. Hi Cassie! I'm going to be teaching elementary art next year for the first time! I've been teaching high school the last five years! I'm so excited! Is the video still active somewhere? I'd love to give it a watch! Your routines sound great!

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    1. Oddly enough, I think the video may have been deleted! I'll add it back...but in the meantime, I added a video of a room tour :)

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    2. I used to teach HS and I was scared of elementary, then I realized is so much fun...the kiddos are like sponges they wanna know everything you can see in their eyes...I'm sure you will love it

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  20. Super cute ideas thanks for sharing! Your classroom looks like fun

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  21. Hi Cassie! I love your ideas. I have a question, how many students do you have per period? if they are more than 30...how do you organize to paint? Thanks

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    1. Hi Adriana! I have between 17-20 kids per class. Next year, that number is going to jump to about 30 plus. I keep my paint in egg cartons. I place egg cartons between each 2 children along with a tray of water and a sponge for wiping brushes. At the end of class, the egg cartons are closed and the water is dumped...brushes go in a bucket of warm and soapy water for me to rinse at the end of the day. Hope that helps :)

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  22. Hi Cassie,

    Thank you so much for all you do and your website has helped me so much in my first year of teaching art! I was wondering about your mats which you have the students "mop" down after using. I have the same print outs for the elements of art, but mine are 8.5x11 size. Did you shrink yours down more and if so to what size? Additionally, what size are the mats? Not poster size right....too big? Did you put two large pieces of paper together? I already cover the tables with butcher paper (lifesaver!), but once it's painted on, things get lost in the paper lol. I think the mats would clean it up a bit more, but I'm not sure how much to take on being my 2nd year teaching? ya know! lol. Thank you for all you do!

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  23. Great Ideas! Your very inspiring! I love your magical sense of humor!

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  24. Hi Cassie! Your art room is an inspiration! Those frames for your Word O' the Week,etc caught my eye! Where did you find those? THanks

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  25. Hi Cassie. Thanks so much for sharing so many great ideas. I love the videos you make. What app or software are you using to create them? Thanks

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  26. You mentioned your class grade levels and how much/how often you see them. I'm curious of your average class size and also of schedule-wise what a typical day might look like. Lastly, I'm curious if every student in your school has art with you. Thanks. You are a real inspirational person!

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  27. There's a 'glue sniffing' reference in the first paragraph. That's hilarious. Laughed out loud for a While ( partly from the lingering effects in my days of inadvertently doing this when building model cars.....no doubt ) And I had thought your Profile Photo thing was funny! I'm HOOKED. I think you can Help me. You seem so nice and real. And this is in an Article where that's what you are TRYING TO DO !!!!!! Wow, wow, WOW-ED me. Bravo, Cassie !

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