Showing posts with label classroom management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label classroom management. Show all posts

Sunday, December 8, 2019

In the Art Room: Noise Levels in the Art Room

A question I see asked in art teacherin' Facebook groups again and again is this:

What noise level do you have in your art room?
Do you have your students work quietly?
If so, HOW ON EARTH DO YOU MAKE THAT HAPPEN!?

I think noise levels in the art room is really just a matter of preference. You are the master of your art teacherin' domain. You can decide what the noise level should be. And, once decided, the way you manage your classroom should be able to make that happen. 

But, let's be real, that's all a whole lot easier said than done, isn't it? So I did a big ole podcast episode on this subject. I'm share more details here and providing some visual backup to the podcast. Here's the episode:

 My thoughts on noise levels in the art room have changed a bit since this post I did a couple years ago. While I still use my paint cans as an indication of my desired noise levels, I no longer keep up with table points on a folder for each class. That was just too much for me. In the podcast episode, you'll hear me talk about what I now do instead. The key with anything in life is finding what works best for you. I think it's always a good idea to try out different methods and styles. Keep what sticks and works for you and your kids. And don't beat yourself up over letting some things go. You do you, boo-boo. 
 I love acronyms and this one T.A.L.K. really helps me explain to my students the kinds of conversations I hope to hear in my art room. I want to hear them teaching and learning and discussing art all in a kind-hearted way. Providing examples when introducing this concept will really help. In this episode, you'll hear the examples I provide to help my kids learn what T.A.L.K. in the art room is.
This conversation of HOW we speak to our friends comes up in nearly every single art class. Honestly, I often feel frustrated that so much of my art time is "wasted" discussing K.I.N.D. but, you know what? It's necessary. If I can help my kids grow in to kind adults, then I've done my job. If they never pick up a paint brush again but they know to speak kindly then I'll be forever happy. Again, providing scenarios of what K.I.N.D. sounds like helps them understand. And, when you hear a student speaking kindly, point it out. Shout it out! Make it a big deal. It will encourage others to follow suit. I never mind a noise level of kindness!
 Regardless of the noise level you strive for in your art room, I would really recommend beginning the creative process with 5 Minutes of Focus or Gimme 5! It works wonders to help my students gather supplies and settle in to work. Often, when my timer goes off after five minutes, my kids will continue to work quietly. And, if they talk through those five minutes, you better believe they owe me 5 more. 
In this episode, I'm also sharing my favorite quiet classroom hacks! You can read more about my Quiet Critters here. I'll be talking more about music to play and books to read that will help your young artists reach your noise level goals. 

Have fun! 

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

In the Art Room: Teaching Kindness and Teamwork

This year, my students sit at "table teams". Typically, I do a red table and an orange table and the rest...but this year, I switched to calling them teams. I've been keeping track of table team points on Class Dojo and it has really been making a difference in behavior. Now, just to be clear, I don't do a Mrs. Smith's Orange Team...instead it's whoever sits at the orange table in the entire school. This makes keeping up with points a whole lot easier. My students can earn points whenever we transition from directions to work, clean up or whatever I see fit (cuz I'm the boss, Applesauce). To encourage a teamwork vibe, I recently created these bingo dauber GIANT table clothes for my students to work on and write kind messages to one another. Here's a video to share some more:
Each of these banners was created with bulletin board paper and my bingo dauber hack. Each dauber is filled with diluted India ink.
Y'all know I love making big banners for my students to color and/or paint. For these, my students will use construction paper crayons.

Since I cover my table clothes with giant messy mats, I think these will make it for quite a while. Thinking of having them laminated so they could make it until the end of the year. I'll keep you posted.


Do you have table teams? How do you inspire teamwork, cooperation and kindness?

Here's hoping my students love them as much as I do! 


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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

In the Art Room: Second Day of Art 2019

Hey there, friends! Just popping in to share my second day of art class with my students. If you recall, I shared my first day here (with video!) if you are interested. My classes are 30 minutes in length and we have SO MUCH TO COVER. I filmed a video of what I (mostly) cover on the second day and thought I'd share it with you:
Now...here's what's not included in the video...after covering rules, I show my Art Room Etiquette video which is this:
It's just a fun and quick reminder of my routines and procedures. From there, I have the kids file to their seats as a reminder of where they sit. We spend short bit chatting about emergency drills. We line up for  fire, tornado, room clear and an intruder drill. To end art class, we all gather around my drums (yeah, I got a drum set) and we each take a turn playing a fill. This is what the kids will play if chosen to play the clean up drums. 
This insures that each child knows how to play a fill on the drums during clean up time from here on out. 
Before heading out the door, I give a quick demo and chat about the Clean Up Gong which is played right after the drums...and that's it! After all that, the 30 minutes is up and we gotta go. Next art class: we be painting! I'm so ready to get to art makin' with my people. 
And, just in case you missed it, here's my podcast episode all about my first days in art class! 
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Sunday, August 11, 2019

Art Teacherin' 101: My Favorite Art Teacherin' Hacks

I've been sharing so many classroom management hacks on my Instagram lately (and getting such a great response from teachers, thank you!) that I thought I'd put 'em all together in a video! These are the classroom management hacks I use on the very first days in art class...and they help me out so stinkin' much. I hope you find them helpful too. Here you go:
 Also, if you wanna hear about what my first day(s) of art were TRULY like, take a listen to this podcast. I didn't exactly practice what I preach (insert eeek-face emoji!):
 In my hacks video, I fail to mention that one of my fave hacks are showing some videos that I've created. I do chat about these in the podcast episode. Here are the videos I share on the first and second days of art:
First day Rules and Routines video!
Second day Art Room Etiquette video!
 I got a LOT of requests for these questions but, honestly y'all, there is nothing magical about them! They are literally random questions I ask each and every kiddo. Make up your own, I promise you'll love them and so will your students. 
I LOVE this hack: these are my daily schedule folders. I teach the same classes on Monday, same on Tuesday, etc. Since my schedule is different every day, it gets to be...a lot. So I staple my schedule to the front of a daily folder. Then I color copy my class lists and place the color matching list inside the folder. On that class list, I also write my seating chart. What I love about this is that everything is color coded and easy for me to keep up with. AND I love it for a sub! She now can easily see my schedule, my matching class list and seating chart. Been doing this for a couple years now and love it.
 And this is my Happy/Sad board for individual behaviors! I tried hard to explain this in my podcast but it was close to impossible without a visual. So here you are! The goal is for me not to move the button down. If I do, it's after a couple of warnings. Once it's moved down, the kiddo can work to improve their behavior and have it moved back up...if they do, fantastic! If not, well then I need to have a little chat with their teacher. It's such an easy tool and works well for me. 
 The colors of paper match my tables and the numbers coordinate with their individual seat spots. 
And it was simply made with flat marbles, puffy paint and velcro on a clipboard!

I hope you find at least a couple of these hacks helpful. Have a wonderful school year! 

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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

In the Art Room: The Easiest (and Maybe the Only!) Classroom Management Tool You'll Ever Use!

I've got three new podcast episodes for you this week that I think you'll enjoy...at least I hope! I've been TRYING to jump start my art teacherin' brain these last couple weeks because, GULP, I go back to school tomorrow, y'all. That's MAN-AN-A (where my tilda at, blogger?!). In case you missed, I've been chatting up all things art teacherin' over on my podcast, Cassie Stephens (available for download here, Apple Podcasts, Spotify or simply click on the link!). This week, I covered why our kids are misbehavin', what my three consequences are and...the easiest classroom management tool EVER! 

Take a listen to to that one right here:
This is also THE CHEAPEST classroom management tool you'll ever use...as all you need is a dry erase board, a marker and a happy/sad face. Shoot man, just draw a happy and a sad face on your board and you are set. Now, if you are like me and you need a visual to go with the podcast, here's a video I made a couple years ago:
In my podcast episode how I started using this board...making it way too complicated. These days, it's super easy and super effective. I think you'll love it. Take a look at this vintage photo below. My art room has changed so much over the last couple of years. You wanna know what's not changed? Me using this board! My desk still sits in this same spot, it's just rotated outward, toward the kids. But the Happy/Sad Board still remains. It works with all of my students, kindergarten through fourth. 
Below is what my art room looks like now. Look how much crapola I used to have...EVERYWHERE. I was a big believer in more-is-more. I guess I still am but now I'm a bigger believer in decorating to educate. Which is what I hope I do!
What's missing from this photo? MY HAPPY/SAD BOARD! At the end of the school year, the little easel it sat on broke. I've since ordered me a dry erase board stand that I plan to place front and center. 

One thing I failed to mention in my podcast is what I do with the board when the kids go to their seats to work. Usually the kids are merrily making and need very few reminders. However, when we do, I will sometimes assign a student to be in charge of the board. They'll take it to their seat and mark lines under the happy or the sad as they see fit. Does that mean we sometimes end up with 3452 happy face tallies? YES. But usually the kids do well with it. Every so often, when the class gets a little too chatty or off task, I'll say, "Hey, T, how many happy/sads to we have?" and that will usually get everyone to fall in line. Easy right?

If you wanted to extend this, you could totally use it to keep a class tally of behaviors, if that's your thing. Personally, I cannot keep up with class parties, table tallies, behavior charts, stickers, clips or popsicle sticks. But you COULD use this system at the end of class to determine if the class has had a successful day and deserves to work toward some reward. For me, I'm much too crazy to keep up with any of that stuff...and just racking up the happies seems to work for my students. AND THAT'S THE KEY... you do what works for yourSELF, your STUDENTS, your SET UP and your SITUATION and you'll be amazing. Happy New Year!
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Sunday, May 6, 2018

In the Art Room: Maker's Kit Grab Bags

Well, howdy, friends! Have you started the End of the Year countdown yet? I have not...as I'm in the middle of the Art Show Countdown (Tuesday, May 15th, eep!) and cannot seem to focus on the end-of-the-school-year/light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel as I still have SO.MUCH.ART.SHOW.PREP.TO.DO. Thankfully, I'm surrounded by my amazing Art Show Mom Army who are handling the bulk of the work (matting, hanging, finding my coffee/sanity/half-eaten-burrito all at the same time). As most of y'all know, it's really just a matter of getting the kids to FINISH ALL THE UNFINISHED THINGS.
Case in point: I scored an extra hour with my doubled up fourth grade classes on Friday (doubling my fourth and third grade classes is the only way I can get them for an hour. It's busy but it's worth it!). I created a To Do list for them that I posted on my big screen T.V. Here's what was on their agenda:
That's a lot! Thankfully, it's a matter of finishing projects...so no new set of instructions was required. However, you know how this can sometimes go: THE UNENDING ASKING OF QUESTIONS. 

What do I do next?

Where does this go?

Where can I find that one thing that is always in the same place every time but I'm going to ask you again just to test the limits of your sanity?

Insert waving of white flag here. 
Recently, a class reminded me that they'd never "cashed in" their Awesome Artist points because their art teacher is an inconsistent hot mess. Well, they didn't say that last part but it was HEAVILY alluded to. So, I told them that the following art class they'd be able to. "What are we doing?! Are we having a party?! Will there be pizza? CAN WE MAKE SLIME?!"

No. No. ANNNNNNND no. 
 I don't have time for parties (c'mon, y'all. Everyday in the art room is a party anyway!), I ain't got money for pizza and IF I NEVER HAVE TO MAKE SLIME IN MY ART ROOM IT WILL BE TOO SOON. And, just 30 minutes before classes arrived...I got the idea for Maker's Kit Grab Bags. Here, let me 'splain:
If you follow me here, then you know I'm in the middle of cleaning out. I'm decluttering like a crazy person...it's been put to kind of a standstill for the sake of the art show...but the minute that's over, I'm going right back to decluttering. I've managed to knock out cabinets in the art room and corners of my INSANELY PACKED storage closet...
And I've set most of it aside for the EPIC YARD SALE I am planning to host. But a lot of it...I started thinking...the kids might want. 
 So I popped open 34 lunch bags (another item I have a TON of) and started throwing my unwanted craft supplies inside: popsicle sticks, stickers, construction paper in weird sizes, tubes, yarn cones, ribbon and just all the stuff that I have been donated over the years and never found a use for. 
 I LIVED for grab bags as a kid. Whenever I had the opportunity to buy a toy, I always sprung for the grab bag. I told my students that these were Maker's Kits. They were to inspire them to create something, ANYTHING, with the aid of supplies they might already have here at school or home. The hitch? They had to work their tails off all art class, in order to cash in their table points and score their bag. Y'all. I never ONCE had a kid ask me what they were to do next, I never ONCE had a kid off task, I hardly even heard a peep out of them. But, best of all, they started coming back to art with their creations...even sharing them with me on social media!
This was just a spur of the moment idea that I am so excited about! Next year, I hope to create a competition out of this...to really inspire my kiddos to keep on creating. As for now...it's helping me clean out and keep them motivated to the bittersweet end. Do y'all do anything like this?! I'd love to hear how it works in your art room!
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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Art Teacherin' 101, Episode 43: QUIET CRITTERS!

 I've been teaching for many a year and it's always just been my assumption that kindergarten is loud. Like REALLY loud. It wasn't until recently, when I popped into a kindergarten classroom, that I noticed that they aren't ALWAYS this way. I walked into this room and they were working...calmly. Quietly. Like, frighteningly so. As if they were up to no good or plotting the next time they were coming to art and going to drive me bonkers with their incessant jib-jab. When I asked the teacher why they were so quiet, she was all, "what do you mean? They're working. They always work this way." 

SAY WHAT NOW?!
Not long after that, @art_with_mia who I love and follow on Instagram, shared that she recently started using something called Quiet Critters in her art room. Now I've heard of teachers using stuffed animals as quiet incentives before...but these small sparkly pompoms seemed like an easier alternative. With the noise level in my art room with kindergarten on the rise, I was determined to give it a shot. And, you guyz, IT WORKS.
If you read my last post, you know that I've named each of these critters after an artist. Every other art class, I'm introducing that artist to the kids. This one is Andy (Warhol). When a student earns a critter, I simply place them in their table caddy. I do think this would work with slightly older grades...but my older kids already use the clip system (which is what the clothes pins are all about. You can read about that here.) Since it works for them, I'm not about to reinvent the wheel, you know. However, I'm super stoked to find something that works for my wee ones, yay! Finally, I can hear myself think! 

Do you use something like this in your art room? I'd love to hear how it goes!
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Sunday, November 26, 2017

In the Art Room: Art Room Management

 A couple of weeks ago, on my Facebook LIVE chat, I had my art teacher buddy Kaitlyn Edington. I "met" Kaitlyn via her IG account which is AMAZING. She's not only got a beautiful art room with some amazing project ideas but has INCREDIBLE classroom management.  She's also fabulous at sharing her methods. I had her chat with us one night during LIVE (the chat is still archived here) where she shared her system. I loved her ideas...but, like y'all, I had to think of how I would make it work in my art teacherin' world. I'm a firm believer, just like Kaitlyn, that we are all different and should totally celebrate those differences. There is no "once size fits all" for art teacherin'...so the trick is finding out what works for YOU. After mulling over her system and imagining how it might work in my art room, I came up with this:
I rolled this out with my students a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving break and, I gotta say, it's been working out wonderfully! The kids are really responding well. My first grade has really taken to it well...the grade that I thought would not at all. I think they crave the structure the most out of all my classes this year so it's really worked for them. My second graders LOVELOVELOVE art (all my kiddos do, but these kids are IN.TO.IT.) so they hardly need reminders...although their enthusiasm can sometimes be their downfall. This system has really helped them focus. 
 My older students are loving this too...I have those big, doubled up classes so the noise level was a constant battle. I don't mind chatter...if it's work focused. A lot of times, with my third graders, it is not. So this has helped them quite a bit. However, with my older kiddos, I have them for an hour...I can't even stay quiet that long! So I usually move the brush to yellow about half way into their art class. 
 Okay...I just realized I've not explained this system to you at all! I just assumed you'd watched the video. But, if you can't stand the sound of my voice (you and me both), I'll give you the Cliff's notes. 
 I have these three paintings hanging in my art room. I've created FREE downloadable PDF's for you so you can simply print and laminate. You can find the red can here, yellow can here and the green can here. I added velcro dots to hold the paint brush...but a drawing of a paintbrush would work just as well. 

So the deal is this: the cans let the kids know the expected noise level. Red is silent, yellow is whispering and green is indoor voices. I prefer my students to work quietly. I only see them for 60 minutes a week (if I'm lucky) and I want them to create as much as they can during our short time together. I usually keep the brush on red...except for midway through the classes of my older kiddos. 
 How does this expected behavior get monitored? Each table of four kiddos has a color coded table caddy. I found these caddies at Dollar Tree and simply spray painted them to match the tables. Then I placed red duct tape on one side of the caddy and green on the other. Each table begins with 5 clips on the green tape. I went with 5 because 1. That's what Kaitlyn suggested; 2. it makes it so the kids don't think of themselves as a clip...meaning "Joe had to move his clip!" It's not like that...the TABLE had to move a clip because of a teammates behavior and 3. Because it's a lot easier to count the scores by 5's! 

I remind the kids before I had them their table folder (which is also something new I'm trying and LOOOVING) what color the paintbrush is on. When they head to their seats, they are expected to pass out the artwork and get started quietly. This has really helped the kids settle in and get started. If I have to remind a table more than once, I ask them to move a clip. Clips are moved based on not following directions, chatting, not cleaning up...just general behaviors that need improvement. At the end of art class, I do a little shout out:
 "Who still has all 5 clips? Please write a 5 on your folder and line up!" Then I go down the line with 4 and then 3. I just noticed that the green folder has an extra 5...we're still working on understanding this system. Obviously. 
 To monitor the amount of clips and scores, I taped these papers to their table folders. I have a couple things to add here:

1. WHERE HAVE TABLE FOLDERS BEEN MY WHOLE LIFE?! This has made passing out and collecting (dry!) artwork so stinkin' easy. 

2. WHAT IF WORK IS ON THE DRYING RACK?! Well, a friend recently suggested to me that have the kids write their names on the back in the same color as their table. So it's on my To Do to place color coded color pencils on the tables. As for yellow, I'll ask the kids to circle their names in that color.

3. THE LABEL KEEPS THEM ACCOUNTABLE. Having that label where they keep their score instead of me works much better for me...I can't keep up with my life but I know they'll be able to stay on top of the scorecard. 
I hope all that makes a little bit of sense...I'm so excited that this system as been working so well. My art room is more calm, I can spend more one on one time with my students and the craftsmanship has been much improved. Not to mention the teamwork! The kids have been working harder to get along and help each other. Thanks for letting me share!
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