As art educators, we know that images are powerful tools to communicate ideas. However, our world also relies heavily on written communication to share information. This makes it necessary to have good writing skills. Good writing is key to effectively advocating for your art program, communicating art concepts, and sharing ideas with colleagues. New media, from blogging to tweeting to collaborating on ArtEd2.0, has made it easier for us to do just that.
Despite having a blog and the Tech4Arted column in SchoolArts Magazine, I simply don’t like to write. Words just don’t flow smoothly from my head to my fingertips.
What I do love to do is communicate and share ideas. I just finished my first year writing the Tech4Arted column (check out my articles below) and I have been getting great ideas from SchoolArts for years so it has been exciting to contribute to a large audience.
I know many of you who are reading this may think: “If I could just show you what I want to say with a picture instead of words, it would be so much easier!” You have a great idea on art education, but you may hesitate to share if you dread the thought of writing. Here’s the writing process I have developed over the last couple years that works well for blogging, writing for SchoolArts, and writing e-newsletter communication to parents. Maybe it will inspire you.
1. Choose your topic. What art lessons have been successful? How have you improved on someone else’s idea? Don’t reinvent the wheel. All great ideas are inspired by something else, right?
2. Start typing. Don’t worry about how incoherent you sound. Just get the ideas out of your head and written down.
3. Read it afterwards and fix the things that do not make sense.
4. Go do something else for a few minutes, a few days, or a week. This is the magic time when you will think of a new idea or perfect phrase. Then run — don’t walk — back to your writing to make your edits.
5. Read what you wrote and ask yourself: Did I communicate my ideas? Revise your writing. Repeat steps 3-5 until you communicate your ideas effectively.
6. Choose a friend or colleague to read your rough draft. I always do. Make revisions and let them read it again.
In case you missed my first year of the Tech4Arted column for SchoolArts, I have linked to the articles below. I share my writing with you with hope that you will take the leap and share your ideas with us as well!
Creating a Compassionate Curriculum
Take an Art Tour in Google Maps
Wallwisher: Collaborate and Interact
Twenty-First Century Storytelling
Out of Place
Create Your Own Customized Art Quiz
Technology Transformation [Infographic]
Wired to the Natural World
Ready to share? SchoolArts is always looking for lesson ideas and art expression in your school and community. Or write a guest post on The Teaching Palette. Check out some of our fantastic guest post submissions here.
Special Note: A great resource for grammar is the Associate Press Guide to Punctuation.
I love my Clean-Up Map, but what I don’t love is keeping track of the tables who cleaned up adequately and efficiently (I have a lot of other things going on!). That’s why I created a system of Clean-Up Map Monitors. Each class period I appoint a team of two students to monitor the classroom tables for quick and thorough clean-up. The kids love this job (and take it very seriously) so I rotate the students each class period and keep track by marking on a class list. At the end of class the clean-up monitors are manned with giant numbers attached to dowel rods and distribute them based on the following:
- All students are sitting at their table silently.
- Table meets Clean-Up Monitor cleanliness expectations (Students know what needs to be cleaned by referring to the Clean-Up Map).
Important details to keep things running smoothly:
- Table leaders (also known as helping hands) get to hold the clean-up number when distributed.
- If you complain about anything, your table lines up last.
- Clean-Up Monitors always get to line up first.
- Students are dismissed to line based on the number their table was awarded.
I find that this system works well with 3rd grade and up. In second grade I act as the clean-up monitor to train the kids on my expectations.
Download the clean up numbers for use in your classroom.
Watch the video below to show the clean up monitor system at work.
Since I started teaching, I’ve always wanted one of those “take a number” systems you see at the deli. I’d use it to form a line for asking questions, getting supplies, or more recently, taking turns at the interactive whiteboard. Each of these activities have threatened my sense of order and organization and would benefit from students taking a number.
This year, I decided to tackle this challenge with a similar take-a-number solution, and came up with “Magic Numbers” to help organize our interactive whiteboard time. Magic Numbers is a low-tech visual system that lets the students keep track of whose turn is next.
Here’s how it works in my classroom: On days when we use the interactive whiteboard, I distribute cards with numbers written on them. Or I’ll simply ask students to take the numbered cards from their corresponding numbered pockets, which are secured to a “Magic Numbers” poster board, and sit back at their seats to work on their artwork.
To begin the interactive whiteboard activity, the student holding No. 1 approaches the board, puts his/her card in the No. 1 pocket and proceeds to the interactive whiteboard activity. The student holding No. 2 sees the visual cue that s/he is next. To keep things moving smoothly, I have two students stand-up at the board — one student is working with the interactive whiteboard while the other student is “on deck”. This helps facilitate quick transitions onto the interactive whiteboard and minimize wasted time.
To make your own Magic Number system here are the supplies you need:
1. Cardboard or matte board (to which you attach the pockets)
2. Library book pockets (pockets can also be found at local teacher supply stores)
3. Clear packaging tape to secure pockets to board.
4. Two sets of laminated magic numbers (one to be attached to the library pocket and the other set attached to a card that can slide in and out of the pocket)