Stepping Stones ART-CLASS MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES Stepping Stones is a monthly column that breaks down seemingly daunting tasks into simple, manageable “steps” that any art educator can take and apply directly to their classroom. Stepping Stones will explore a variety of topics and share advice for both art-on-a-cart teachers and those with art rooms. by heidi o'hanley year. Creating a chart for each of your classes takes time, but it’s worth it in the long run. T here is not one single trick that works when it comes to managing an art class—everyone has different situations. Every class you teach is diverse with unique students, learning styles, and behaviors, so throughout the year, your management plans can change. From one school to the next, I changed my strategies around to see what worked best. Some rules worked when I pushed a cart, while other rules worked better when I taught in a cafeteria or a room. I would like to offer suggestions for what worked best with my situations and have lasted throughout the school year. The key is consistency. Your methods of art class management may change, but your overall demeanor reflects on your students. positive phrases used to encourage positive behavior. Does your school have a universal message that can be used in your class? My school used the three R’s: Respect Yourself,; Respect Others, Respect Your School. Another common positive behavior mantra is Be Safe, Be Respectful, and Be Responsible. These mottoes can be useful in the art class as well, especially if students are familiar with the phrases. Why not change them up a bit for your class? For example: be safe with materials, be respectful with critiques, and be responsible with your artwork! CONTrOL yOUr NOIse. This is the area I find the most challenging because I want students to interact while they are working on their projects. The students know their noise level must be kept down, but many times, they forget. There are some ways I keep the noise down. First, I use a “Yacker Tracker,” a handy noise-detector that looks like a stoplight (this item can hang from the cart and be plugged in from room to room). Another method is using online behavior charts, like Classroom Dojo, which allows you to add or subtract points for each student. Online charts make it a fun game while calculating points for positive behaviors. 4 CreaTe a MaNTra. School mottoes, or mantras, are 5 create your list of rules. As king or queen of your classroom (or cart), you must set the rules straight from day one and set the routine you want throughout the year. How should the students enter the room? How should they be ready when you push that cart into the room? Should they be listening while you’re talking? What are the consequences for disrespect? What are your positive behavior incentives? With keeping the same rules from year to year, I notice that students are familiar with my routines, which have reflected in their actions, behavior, and art making. 1 CreaTe yOUr rULes. In the beginning of every year, lesson, and be sure to create time for passing out materials and cleaning up. Within 40 minutes, I take attendance, discuss, instruct, demonstrate, pass out materials, guide students during project, and clean up. Budget your time accordingly so students understand what they’re doing and why they are creating. The last five minutes are saved for clean up, which is done in a timely manner so they do not use up the next class’s art time. seaTING CHarTs. If you’re on a cart and move from room to room, the homeroom teacher will already have a chart in place. Communicate with the classroom teacher on any changes or designated spaces for students in the room while you’re giving your lesson. If you do have a classroom, create charts: draw a floor plan, create photocopies, and write the class and student names in their spots in pencil, which will make it easier to modify when switching students around throughout the 12 2 CreaTe yOUr TIMe sCHeDULe. Make time for your dents work toward a goal for their class, like charts or tickets. After a few runs of different reward systems, I enjoyed the star chart for the entire class because they are accountable as a team. If a class reaches four stars, every student receives a token prize, which can be pencils, art samples, or stickers. Other teachers hand out raffle tickets at the end of class, which can be entered to win art supplies, prizes, or lunch with the teacher. Find which system works best for you! UNDersTaND THaT yOU are NOT PerFeCT. After years of teaching, I still change strategies for managing behavior. Students may transfer in or out and behaviors can change, but no matter what happens, you have to keep on your game. As frustrating as it can be, stay on top of any situation and don’t give up. As I mentioned before, stay constant with your own positive attitude and it will reflect on your students.n 6 reWarD sysTeMs. Think of an incentive to help stu- 7 3 A&A Contributing Editor Heidi O’Hanley (NBCT) teaches elementary art for Indian Springs School District #109, in the Greater Chicago Area. Visit her blog at www. talesfromthetravellingartteacher.blogspot.com. f e b r u a r y 2 0 1 4 • 81 y e a r s x www.ar tsandactivities.com
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