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Arts & Activities - Page 12

Stepping Stones 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 and traveling teachers, as well as those with art rooms. CHALLENGES OF TEACHING ART FROM A CART If not, talk with the administrator and ask for space in the school that can be used temporarily for certain projects. very job has its ups and downs, but with the arts being the first to be cut by many school districts, it can appear we are not considered “part of the core curriculum” when, in fact, we are! Following are some challenges faced by art-on-a-cart and traveling art teachers in many school districts and advice on making the situation more positive. CHALLENGE: I am on a cart, stuck in a closet, with no sense of space. ADVICE: You may not have a room and your storage closet houses your desk, but look at it this way: A room takes much longer to set up, take down and clean up at the end of the day. CHALLENGE: I don’t feel like I belong with the other teachers. They seem to cling together when talking about standard tests and classroom activities. With not being at the same school everyday, I feel left out. ADVICE: It takes time to build lasting friendships with coworkers and other staff and sometimes it may not happen the way you want! Your job is to convince your fellow coworkers that you are worthwhile. Talk about their students’ personalities and how they reflect in their artwork. Show that you want to be part of the groups. Go ahead and butt into their conversations and show you care! CHALLENGE: I keep tripping over my cart and items keep falling off of it. (Argh!!!) ADVICE: In the morning, leave some of the items you’re using with certain classes within their rooms, or make a trip back to your storage room (if you have allotted traveling time between classes). This will save on the items falling off or breaking. I can’t help you with the tripping—that’s just an annoyance some of us we must deal with! CHALLENGE: The art materials are too difficult to disperse in the classrooms, and the teacher leaves no space for me. ADVICE: Communication is key. Let the homeroom teacher know you need the space, or you may need to place your items on top of their stuff. Over time, you and the classroom teacher will develop a routine. E 6 7 CHALLENGE: I feel I’m invading their classrooms. ADVICE: True, but think of it from the homeroom teacher’s perspective—they feel like they’re invading your class, as well. This is when you work as a team. CHALLENGE: I’m struggling with communication, I feel like I’m the last to know everything. ADVICE: Traveling from school to school? It happens, but you can fix the important items, such as team meetings and professional development time. Communicate with the administrators about keeping you in mind for important facts and don’t be afraid to let them know when they’ve forgotten something. Everyone makes mistakes! 1 2 8 9 CHALLENGE: My car is a rolling storage facility! ADVICE: That can be fixed. When ordering supplies from year to year, build up a collection of materials that can fit in your storage spaces, so you no longer have to carry it from school to school. It works . trust me. CHALLENGE: Communicating with my students’ par- 3 ents can be a challenge. ADVICE: I can’t lie—it is. But, that doesn’t mean you stop calling them when you need to speak with them. Just find the time on another date (unless it’s urgent) and let the parent know your situation. They appreciate the phone call even if it is a day late. CHALLENGE: I always forget something at another 10 school! ADVICE: Can’t help you there: I do it too! Just make sure you get to your school with enough time to pick the item up if necessary, or adapt the lesson to work with other materials. The list of challenges for art-on-a-cart and traveling art teachers may be long, but there are many positive aspects of working in multiple schools: • Anopportunitytoknowthefacultyatseveralschools. • A“break”whiletravelingfromoneschooltothenext. • Ahands-onchancetoworkoutkinksinlessonplans. • Thedistrictboardmembersrecognizeyourworkmore. • Strongercollegialitydevelopsfromgoodcommunication. • Youbrightenthestudents’daywhenyouentertheclassroom. Heidi O’Hanley is a National Board Certified K–6 art educator for Indian Springs School District 109 in Justice, Ill. Visit Heidi’s blog at www.talesfromthetravellingartteacher. november 2012 • 80 YEARS 4 5 12 CHALLENGE: There is no storage for projects. ADVICE: True, but have you talked with the home- room teachers about allowing some small space in their rooms to be used (for example, the tops of closets/cabinets, or even by the windowsills)? x

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