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Arts & Activities - Page 16

Stepping Stones juggliNg ThE SChEdulE by heidi o'hanley 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 art-on-a-cart teachers and those with art rooms. othing stays the same, not even a schedule. Since my first year of teaching, my schedule for all three of my schools changed slightly to accommodate those involved. This past year, there was a new challenge that all “specials” teachers were presented with: All grade levels in one day. This accommodation was made to help all teachers involved to combine their available times for collaborative planning. In my curriculum at my “home-base” school, my upper grades use different materials and learn more experimental methods, processes and manipulation than the younger grades. The challenge I come across is space and planning for seven grade levels, but with open communication I hope to have a year with awesome new learning experiences. Communication is the key word I use in the traveling/ cart situations. Without an open dialogue with all co-workers involved, miscommunication runs amuck. As a traveler, I do still come across many situations that weren’t brought to my attention (such as surprise drills or assemblies), but with an open mind and flexibility, daily events run fairly smoothly. Here are a few tips to help with your schedule and keep an open dialogue with your co-workers. N or clay free. The homeroom teacher may also have a stash of handi-wipes for the students to use once their art time is over. All of this helps with cleaning students’ desks for the next part of their day after a good 40 minutes of tempera or acrylic painting. 3 ASK IF SPACE CAN BE LEFT FOR THE CART TO ENTER THE ROOM. In some situations, you may not be able to fit the car t into the room due to lack of space. Even if there’s an empty spot on a table for materials, any little gesture helps. Classroom teachers have also been ver y helpful in allowing storage containers to remain in their rooms throughout the week, which really helps save on space. If a classroom has closets with high shelves or movable storage units, I use the tops to store items during the week. Find a large, flat storage container for easy transpor t and light carr ying when moving from shelf to table. 4 CHECK IN ADVANCE IF THERE ARE STUDENTS NEEDING MODIFICATIONS, such as special needs, English- 1 DISCUSS YOUR PROJECTS WITH THE HOMEROOM TEACHERS. You may discover that some of your language learning, or other adaptations that may be needed for students in the classroom. It is important to not depend on others to bring this information to you, but it is important to be sure you meet the needs of all students in your classroom—even if it’s not your room. Within the first few days of school, I try to communicate with the interventionists and special needs instructors to update IEPs, gifted, and accommodations for the students. projects may cross the teacher’s curriculum. I enjoy crosscurricular units because students enjoy creating a project related to what they are learning in science, math—or even a story they recently shared. I would advise using this tip even if you plan one project from the next. In some cases (like in kindergarten), you may be doubling a project they’ve already completed in their homeroom. One example of a cross-curricular project in kindergarten is butterflies! The kindergarten teachers and I use Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar as a literary reference, plus we make projects out of recycled materials in the homeroom and the art class. is involved in the meetings about student needs. Just because you’re not invited to the meeting doesn’t mean you should ignore the opportunity. In the beginning of the school year, communicate with the classroom teachers, social workers, or interventionists and share your desire to be involved with the program. Every classroom is different, and no schedule stays the same. On top of instructing your classes and juggling materials, you also need to be aware of other responsibilities such as recess, morning/afternoon duties or lunch patrol. This is another arena in which to communicate with your coworkers. I have moments where I have to choose between washing brushes or running outside for duty; when those moments arise, notify your coworkers. Something will always be worked out. n Heidi O’Hanley is a national board–certified K–6 art educator for Indian Springs School District 109 in Justice, Ill.Visit her blog at www.talesfromthetravellingartteacher.blogspot.com. september 2012 • 80 YEARS 5 BE PART OF THE TEAM. Not every “specials” teacher 2 INFORM HOMEROOM TEACHERS WHEN THERE WILL BE MESSY PROJECTS, such as sculpture clay or paint- ing. This way, the teacher can put away any materials he or she does not want messy. Let’s face it, you can’t keep a workspace 100-percent clean. Also, sometimes homeroom teachers may forget to put away their items (face it, we all do). As a courtesy, I place their papers in a safe spot on their desks so they stay paint 16 x www.ar tsandactivities.com

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