Wednesday, September 29, 2010

my inner monologue for the day

I totally underestimated how long it would take to complete these projects!  I'm adding an extra class period for students to complete them so that will be 4 class periods on one project.  I've never done that before with 4th-6th... since I only see them every other week that's almost 2 full months on one project!  I was super frustrated after my first class this morning when I felt like only maybe a third of the students were really trying to do their best work.  Part of me wanted to just tell the students their artwork would go up in the hallway "as is" since I knew they were more interested in goofing off than working hard.  (That was suggested to me by another teacher last year to make the students be accountable...)  But then part of me doesn't want to punish the students who have been working really hard.  Also, I'm afraid if I put them up now, it would just reflect poorly on me.  I didn't think I was making this assignment too difficult, I just need to figure out how to deal with the attitudes that sprouted over the summer.  I started off trying to use "table talk"- if you are talking it should only be to the people at your table, only be about the project, and only be a whisper.  I know the students know what those words mean, most just don't care enough to keep it up for more than 30 seconds.  I've talked to some of the 6th grade teachers and they try the same thing and have the same issues.  I could take points but the talkers conveniently quit when I turn around making it hard for me to pick out individuals instead of the whole class.  Oh well, live and learn.  Tomorrow is another day.

EDIT: I just talked to my mentor from last year and she gave me some ideas to try out. 
What are your rules/procedures for the Art room and how do you enforce them?  I'm trying something different than last year with "table talk" and while it works really well with some grades, it apparently doesn't mean much to most 6th grade students.  Do you have a good system that has always worked for you?  Share the love and help out us newbies! :)


  1. Hey there!
    Not sure what ages you teach...I see 4-6, but maybe you teach even younger also. I have taught ART for many years and before that I was a K teacher...yeah, I was a misplaced artists...LOL Currently I teach K-2 ART, but have taught up to high school age. One thing I have learned over the years is that the best teaching days for me are days when the project is quick and take home. I would prefer to work on things longer, but with today's kids and their fast paced world I decided not to fight it. We do wonderful projects, they look great, and I cover many of my standards in one project. We do really simple projects. This actually helps with room chatter and have got to keep them busy!! I have my students for 50 minutes and I have 30 in most classes. I see them once a week. Very, very seldom do I carry a project over to the next week. Most of the time I split up side of the room does one thing and the other side another. Today we did touch up our Square 1 Art fundraiser drawings, but we also painted, read art books and watched a 5 minute art video clip..this was K, but 1st and 2nd was similar. We also sing our rules at the beginning of each class...we learn one rule a week during the first part of the school year. I also do something similar to your ART discipline technique...currently it is the word PAINT:-) I also have a red zigzag line on my floor, that's the time out line. You have to change your disciplining whatever from time to time. One I use is to walk around with a dry erase marker and put a shape or line on the table by the little guilty party...this works wonderfully. The consequence is to sit out or not get to do something special others in class are doing. They do not want a shape drawn near them! On Fridays all Specials classes are in the gym for RAMP...Rockin' ART Music and PE...some sit out for 5 minutes or so for their behavior. This helps too during the week...they do not want to miss that fun!
    This is long and rambling, but I hope it helps. Its lonely being the art teacher at times:-)

  2. I always start my classes off with 15 minutes of independent work time. I set a timer for 15 minutes and every time someone talks, a minute is added to the timer. If I have to add more then 5 minutes I have the kids put their work in the middle of the table and put their heads down for five minutes.
    When the timer goes off the class must talk quietly. If they get too loud I give them one warning then turn the timer on for five more minutes of independent work time.
    Good luck with it. I know it tough to keep the older kids focused longer projects. I have issues with it too, but don't want to give them up because I really like how some of the more detailed projects turn out.

  3. The timer idea is interesting. I had three more 6th grade classes yesterday and had no problems, maybe Wednesday was just an "off" day for those other classes!