Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Art Teacherin' 101: Episode 10

Hello, art teacherin' types! I'm here with you today because those Back-to-School nightmares have already started. All y'all know what I'm talking about: crowded art room full of kids going absolutely bananas while the classroom teacher waits looking at her watch, shaking her head and tapping her foot. You scream, "Hey! Hey, guys!" about a half dozen times to get their attention only to see Susie cut a hunk off Janie's hair with a pair of razor sharp scissors while Billie and Beau crumple up artwork and break crayons over each other's heads. I wake up with cold sweats in a panic: I MUST GET TO SCHOOL AND PREPARE!
I'm here today to tell you this: DON'T DO IT! Enjoy what's left of your summer. You've earned every drop of freedom. However, I know it's hard to enjoy this time off when the dark shadow of back-to-school supplies at Target is looming over you. Well, lemme set your mind at ease. To prepare for the first coupla days of school, you don't need the prettiest art room, the most prepared lessons or plotted out script. All you need to do is remember one simple word:
This word is the perfect acronym for a fool proof back-to-school formula. Check it out:

W = Welcome 
Welcome those kids to your art room with a heartfelt greeting! It will kick your class off right.

E = Entrance
Make sure your students understand how to "make an entrance". Getting your artists into your room in a calm, quick and quiet manner means you have more time to create!

L = Let Them Know Expectations
I have one rule: Be Kind. However, that one rule holds a lotta weight. So this year, I'm creating a short video to share with my students to quickly walk them thru my expectations. This means, I won't leave anything out when I talk to my dozens of art classes!

C = Create!
Make sure there is time to create on that first day! They've sat and listened to rules and procedures all day long...make your room different. Allow them to get messy on that very first day. They will love you for it.

O = Observe
Be like a scientist on a safari. Observe these art makin' creatures to see who needs to be moved, who needs to have access to different supplies, who needs more peer tutoring. Take all of that information in so you can use it in the future.

M = Make Them Feel Special
Everyone responds to love. Show it in a way that both you and your students are comfortable with. For me that means a lot of side hugs. We also use sign language in my art room. Signing "I love you" is one way we show we care about each other.

E = Exit
Making an exit is just as important as an entrance. I have a habit of getting the kids juiced up, it's just my nature. So I'm working on some new procedures to have them leave calmly. Sign language has really been helping in that department!
So there you have it! Instead of worrying away your summer about those first days of school, just breathe and remember WELCOME. Shoot, even paint yourself a sign if you have to. That's what I did!

In other news, as you do plan for the new school year, check out my buddy Laura Lohmann's ART TEACHER PLANNER! What the what?! Where has this been all my life! Now I have no excuse not to get my life together. At least that's what my life coach tells me. Ya'll best check it out. 
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  1. You have such an interesting blog. Thanks for sharing. I'm a life coach blogger. Reading blogs is my hobby and I randomly found your blog. I enjoyed reading your posts. All the best for your future blogging endeavors. Please keep in touch with me in Twitter, @lifecoachbloger and Google+, +sridharchandrasekaran

    1. Thank you! I could use a life coach :)

  2. Anonymous7/14/2016

    So those nightmares happen to ALL of us! What a relief! Gonna try out this video making thing although the thought of seeing myself on camera...yikes!-M3

    1. They do!! And if someone tells you they don't get them, then they totally lying!

  3. Anonymous7/14/2016

    What technology do you use for creating your video and editing your videos?

    1. Hi! I wrote a blog post about that :) You can find it here:

  4. I'd love to hear more about your exit procedures. That's my downfall! I usually hold it all together well until the last five minutes of class- clean up and line up. I want to have a better plan this year. And yes to the part about enjoying this last bit of summer!! :)

    1. We play a game called The Smartest Artist! You can find out about it here:

  5. When you have students come in and sit on the carpet, do they have an assigned spot? Do they then move to an assigned table spot? Do you have a seating chart? Also, do you take attendance? I'd like to hear about exit procedures too!

    1. Here is a blog post about a game I play before we exit:

      When the students come into my room, they do not have assigned spots on the floor. I just ask that they go to the end of the taped line and sit, filling the first row first, second row second. I do have assigned seats when they go to their seats based on peer tutoring and who I think will work well together. I don't have to take attendance...tho at the beginning of the year, I'll start the class saying hello to each student just so I can learn their names. I hope that helps!

  6. Anonymous7/15/2016

    Yep had the dreams already brought on by the real nightmare of missing in service and first weeks due to a very unexpected major hysterectomy. So my annual August overhaul of the art room won't happen but I have an awesome retired art teacher to welcome my kids back. I still want to leave her everything organized but got to simplify this year.

    1. Oh no!! I hope you are healing well! Take it easy. It's nice that you have someone reliable to help kick your year off right :)


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