Expectations – Art Room Style!

The following is a guest post written by Scott Russell about his classroom management system using visuals.  Scott teaches at Ball’s Bluff Elementary in Leesburg, Virginia.

My classroom expectation system has evolved in connection with our school-wide PBIS framework.  As the Ball’s Bluff Tiger we ROAR = Respect, On task, and Always Responsible.  So what does that look like in my art room?  Here are my expectations communicated visually:

Respect – A hand in the Air will keep art fair.  – We all have important ideas and questions, the only way to let everyone share in the knowledge is to be fair and respectful to everyone in the class. Download PDF

Respect – Success comes to those who try, failure comes to those who “can’t” – I despise the “I can’t” phrase!  I discuss with my students how they are all learning (even me) and  what  happens when we say “I can’t”. What if one day I said “I can’t” teach you”?  What would they learn?  So I set the expectation – no “I can’t”; we always try our best. Download PDF

On Task – Busy pencils mean Artists at work.  I don’t mind if students are talking. I encourage the sharing that comes in an art class.  I do discuss that while they are in class the artwork needs to be worked on—so they can talk as long as their pencils are moving. This way the discussions tend to stay on the art and they develop the correct work habits. Download PDF

On Task – Show creativity.  What would the world be like if all art were the same?  What would the class be like if all the student art looked exactly like mine?  The goal is to develop their ideas through the lessons and skills we experience together. Download PDF

Always Responsible – Van Gogh knows.  Use your ears.  Listen and learn.  Then you hear the directions and the questions of others and have the most time for YOUR art! Download PDF

Always Responsible – Safety First.  No running with scissors!  And this connects to so many things – ultimately – making good choices. Download PDF

My class learns like the Mona Lisa.  It is great to talk about Mona and use her memorable pose as a model for daVinci.  The mystery behind her intrigues the kids so much and we can learn a lot from her for art class too!  We discuss how her eyes follow you (just like their eyes should follow the speaker), her mouth is a quiet mysterious smile (because what teacher wants to look out at frowns?), and how her hands are still (hold them still just until you can dive into your artwork)!  When I need the student’s attention I say “MONA” and they reply with “LISA” and the students immediately stop what they are doing to make their best Mona-pose.  I “look for my Mona Lisa’s” as they come in to class, etc.  And it hits home – I’ve had students count the Mona’s in my class (I apparently have over 35). One student said, “Thanks, a lot of eyes watching me!”  I think he got it! Download PDF

There are so many others, I welcome you to take a look at my other management visuals and share your own.  These work for me!


  • September 6, 2011

    Jennifer Welch

    GREAT ideas!!!! I believe I’ll be stealing a few of these for my classroom. Thanks for posting!

  • September 6, 2011

    Jeff Lahr

    Nice Message. Nice graphics. Thanks for sharing.

  • September 8, 2011


    THANK YOU! You gave me a great idea for incorporating technology and character education for my 8th grade graphic design class. Posters could be conceptualized and created by the students for various related arts classrooms around school (health, industrial arts, music…)

  • October 6, 2011


    Very awesome visuals, the art makes the message interesting.

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