Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Art Teacherin' 101: Episode 14

My very first art teacherin' gig was in Nashville over 15 years ago. I was hired the weekend before school started and I was COMPLETELY CLUELESS. I had absolutely no idea where to begin when I was given the keys to my portable. The only evidence of art teacherin' that I could find was a sad stack of curriculums (shudder), worn SchoolArts Magazines (which I poured over) and a coffee can of broken crayons. I must have turned around and around in that little space a dozen times trying to figure out just where to begin. I stayed up until 3am creating the most beautiful Vincent van Gogh rules posters thinking that the rest would take care of itself. Um. It did not.
If I had known then what I know now, I woulda said that getting ORGANIZED is the most important way to start your art teacherin' life. I don't mean getting that storage closet all tidy or having every bottle of paint in a perfect row, that's all surface stuff that can be whittled away over time. I'm talking about getting the important parts organized: your class lists, your schedule, your lessons and your yearly plan. Once you have that squared away, you'll be able to breathe so much easier and will have a more enjoyable time getting the rest in order. 
Organize Your Day-to-Day: I recycle the same stinkin' 5 folders each year. My schedule changes every day. For my sanity, I print out a copy of each day's events and tape it to the front of each folder. Inside the folder is a class list of who I'll see that day as well as my seating charts. I pull this out each day, sometimes placing a sticky note of some topics I need to touch on with each class on the front. This works fabulously for those days I'm out sick as well as it makes my sub's life so much easier.

Organize Your Student's Art Work: I keep those bins that I shared in the clip handy to organize student work. One thing I failed to mention in the video is that I have my tables organized by color, for example: red table, orange, etc (the video below gives you a room view). I have a folder for each table. At the start of art class, I'll hand a student who sits at that table the folder which they then take back to their seats. From there, they pass out the artwork to their table mates. At the end of class, they collect artwork, return to the folder and put back in the bin.

Organize Your Teaching Life: It's more than just lesson planning, y'all. What I love about my friend Laura's planner is that it covers EVERYTHING. There are lesson plans, a calendar, a day-to-day planner, a monthly agenda, To-Do Lists, like, everything. Because your teaching life is not just lessons. It's knowing what is going on in the seasons, throughout the school, in other areas of curricula. Having all of these things organized in one binder will really save your sanity. Lemme show you how I use mine:
 My school calendar has less items on it than my personal one...although, at school, I do have them open side-by-side. I love how big that calendar is so that I can really scrawl my notes all over it. 
Because I use Laura's template's to write out my lesson plans, what I write on my weekly teaching schedule is an abbreviated version. What I really find to be important is documenting what happened during a particular art class. This helps me to know how to better approach the class the next time I see them. For example, if one class needs to rework their self-portraits or needs a vocabulary review, I like to write that down while it's fresh on my mind. Otherwise, as you know, goes right outta our crazy lil heads. 

Organize Your Personal Life: I'm telling you, I am The Keeper of the Notebooks. I used to have a notebook that held EVERYTHING from school stuff, personal goals, sketches, art, you name it, this bulging lil book held it. Those kind of books always wore me out because it held TOO much information. So I switched to a notebook for each of my different interests: sewing, drawing, ideas for school, ideas for crafts, etc. My purse became a pull-behind suitcase to cart around my library of books. When I discovered that wee 3-ring bound book at Target it was like the heavens opened up and the angels sang. I bought the tabs, the folders, the calendar and everything that went along with the binder. It's small enough to throw in my big ole purse but big enough to hold my thoughts. I can't recommend y'all get one enough!
Once you've got your art teaching ducks in a row THEN you can indulge in the icing on the cake: the decorating! Here's the tour of the art room I have shared with my students this week. Like I said, seeing other teacher's rooms can be so intimidating. But all that decorating comes with time. Be easy on yourself, take your time, be thoughtful as you plan and just know that these things will happen. 
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14 comments:

  1. Love the video for kindergarten! I'm borrowing this idea. It is so much more thorough this way!

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  2. Bless your heart Cassie Stephens! I just got my first teaching job this summer and I am gearing up to teacher k-12 (!!!). I made a folder for each day right after I read this!

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  3. Bless your heart Cassie Stephens! I just got my first teaching job this summer and I am gearing up to teacher k-12 (!!!). I made a folder for each day right after I read this!

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    1. Awesome!! It will save you so much time and trouble...and help out your sub!

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  4. This is so fantastically helpful! I will be using all of these with my new schedule!
    Another question - what are you using to record your videos - iPad? camera? And what do you use to edit them when needed?

    Thank you, Cassie!!!

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    1. http://youtu.be/WMfKIekY6KE

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    2. Thanks! Must have missed that one!

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    3. Thank you, hisfineartist, for adding the link!

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  5. This is awesome. After 20 years in one classroom- I will be in a new and shiny classroom this year. Your most recent post with the focus on organization and this virtual tour gave me so many great ideas to think about. You are an inspiration! Hope your year is off to a fabulous start.

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  6. This is awesome. After 20 years in one classroom- I will be in a new and shiny classroom this year. Your most recent post with the focus on organization and this virtual tour gave me so many great ideas to think about. You are an inspiration! Hope your year is off to a fabulous start.

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  7. This will be my 7th year teaching. Each year I feel like scrapping the one prior and I redo E V E R Y T H I N G!!!! I needed to be reminded of your words.... Start with the bare bones, organization! Thank you for always sharing & encouraging ��

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  8. Does anyone have any ides how to sort out artwork, especially those that have dried on the drying rack. I have abut 12 classes with a max of 15 kids each..ages from 6 to 16 and sorting out their artwork is a nightmare, especially those that I have to consolidate and mount on coloured backing paper, photograph them.. display them.. URGHHHHH!!

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