Sunday, December 3, 2017

In the Art Room: Early Finishers, Part 2

Why, howdy art teacherin' partners! I hope all y'all are having a relaxing weekend and bracing yourself as this coming week is FULL.MOON.WEEK. The one week a month that I believe we should have off. Call it mental health days. Call it "for the safety of the children" days...cuz the gone be a lil cray...and Ima hafta be a lil crazier. Which isn't all that hard to do, let's be honest. 

A couple of weeks ago, I shared with y'all a post titled Early Finishers, Part 1. This year, with my larger classes, I have noticed a huge difference between my students' work time. I've got some that finish in no time at all and do a fabulous job...and others that work at a snail's pace. I'm a snail's pace artist myself so I totally feel for those kiddos. I never want to rush them...but I also don't want my other students who are finished to simply have blocks, free draw or dry erase boards as their options. 

So I spent a LONG time thinking about this and crafting a system that I'm hoping works for me and my students. I'm also hoping this system allows for me to continue to teach the lessons and curriculum I do while allowing the kids time to explore other areas of art. Call it a directed art/choice-based art combo...or just call it doin' what works. Cuz that's what we do all day long. 

So, how does this work? Well, I created a video to explain it to my students. It's SUPER long-winded (there's so much to cover!) that I will definitely be sharing it in two parts. But, basically, the run down is all spelled out on the poster above (which I HAVE GOT to figure out how to make a downloadable PDF for y'all! I messed up on this post and need to fix it...and want to do the same for this poster. I'll try to have that done this coming week). 
It's long...but I ALWAYS have so much to say (story of my LIFE!).
When kids are finished they are #1: NOT YELL OUT "I'M DONE!" Because me no likey. The first thing they have to do is clean their area. I've noticed that many times, when I make things available to the kids who finish early, they just stop, drop and go. Then I'm left being a naggy-nag callin' so-n-so back to their seat to clean their spot. No more. If you fail to clean then, sorry(not sorry), all options are removed and you are left with a dry erase board. 
After their spot is cleaned, I'm requesting the kids write an exit slip...which we've only done a handful of times because I.SUCK. Seriously. I will sometimes do what you see above: quiz the kids as we are standing in line and jot down what they've learned. But now, I'm putting the ball back in their court. I'm simply asking for one sentence. That's not too much to ask...right?! (insert wink-y face emoji). By the way, if you wanna see what my room USED to look like before I went bonkers and tore everything off the walls this summer, check out this blog post
If all of this is sounding vaguely familiar, that might be because I recently chatted about my early finishers in a podcast. BTW, did you know I have a podcast?! I DO! It's called Everyday Art Room and you can take a listen here
 SIDE NOTE: I got new flooring this week! YES, I'm so excited! When I shared the photo on my IG, many folks asked me where the flooring is from...right here. I also was asked how I was able to afford such flooring. Well, first of all, the flooring was about $120 so SUPER reasonable. Much cheaper and more sanitary than a rug. I do have some extra cash because of the fundraiser I do called Artome
 Okay, now that I've explained the first half of my poster, let's talk about the whole "check time and clips" dealio.
 Okay...so my biggest struggle with early finishers is that there are some who literally have 2 minutes left of art class and will bust open the blocks, grab a piece of free draw and/or get a dry erase board only for me to be like: DUDE. YOU HAVE 2 MINUTES LEFT. They've got no concept of time based on my wall clock. But they do understand my timer...so I'm hoping this method of having the clocks on the bins works. 

An incentive for good behaviors is telling them how many clips they must have. I explained my clip system in this blog post and on this podcast. Fewer clips means fewer options. 
 I decided to limit the blocks/building area to 8 kids because the floor space doesn't comfortably allow for many more kids then that. I also decided to move the drawing supplies to the other side of this cabinet. This way, the kids who wanna draw, aren't stepping over the kids who are building. I'm fortunate that my art room used to be the school library: it's big and has wonderful shelving like this!
 (Please try to ignore the bloodshed...I had a red paint bottle EXPLODE this summer and leave behind this mess. And, yeah, I've yet to clean it up. Raise your hand if you're surprised.) So now the kids have LOTS of drawing options: free draw, how to draw books, idea stick, Fashion Plates, stencils and observational stuff. For observation, I've got mannequins, blocks, dinosaurs, mirrors and vases with flowers. 
 Last option: the light table! My kids REALLY love this.

Next up: I will share a follow up post to let you know how all this shakes out. I'm planning to add more: origami, fibers, collage...and maybe build in more time for these areas and not limit it to just early finishers. 

How do y'all handle those rascally early finishers?! I'd love to hear!
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3 comments:

  1. Your light table is awesome! And it looks huge!! I've checked them out through the usual art supply catalogs anf boy are they pricy. I've been using old overhead projectors I wrangled 3 when the district got rid of them. They're ok as long as I can get the bulbs...but I want a light table (whine-whine) BTW you're room is way cool!! Love ❤️ the color!

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  2. Hi, Cassie! Is your light table free standing on its own or is it a whole structure. Any recommendations? I'm nervous to pull the trigger since it's such a large purchase. I'm looking at getting one with funds through the PTA!

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  3. Hey Cassie! Love the rainbow mannequins! Did you just paint the wooden ones or did you buy them from somewhere? Thanks!

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