I have been using an “art password” to teach students art vocabulary since my student teaching days. It’s one of those little fun things we do in class yet makes a huge positive impact on our classroom discussions and literacy.
Here’s how it works: During my art class in 1st-5th grades, I introduce an art vocabulary term related to a concept we are discussing in class. Since I already have many of my vocabulary words on my magnetic word wall, I just pull the word off to the side and indicate it is the password of the day.
Then at the end of class I use repetition and whole brain teaching to help my students remember this word. See how I do this in the video below.
The following week the students are allowed entry into my classroom if they can tell me the password. While this password isn’t exactly a secret, I do have the students whisper it as they enter my room to make it authentic. If a student doesn’t remember the password, I just send them into class to “go find out” from another student and then come back and tell the word to me.
Keeping track of the passwords from class to class is difficult so I use a log sheet to record the password given in the prior class.
I’ve been wanting to make a word wall in my art room for some time but there was always something else I had to get done first. So my word wall continued to wait until one day when a student wrote “Oil Past -Dell” in one of her Artsonia artist statements. I guess the word sounded OK, but the word was definitely not translating correctly :/ No more waiting, my word wall was getting done.
Using some graphics I found online and a few of my own all I had to do was print directly onto the magnetic paper!
Here are some of the PDF files I created you are welcome to use. Enjoy!
Tip: Try and group the words on the wall based on their relationship to each other to create deeper understanding of the vocabulary.
I’ve been using “The Cloud” for a few years to host my web bookmarks on Delicious and gather digital resources in Livebinder making them accessible from any location and any computer or mobile device. More recently, I have adopted two other cloud computing tools to manage class schedules, supply orders, and lesson plans: Evernote and iCal.
My “must have” cloud application is Evernote. I keep a running list of supplies needed, track students who need to complete artwork, and use images to organize and plan for future lessons. The video below shows how I have used the Evernote desktop application to sort out and sync all the details of my teaching life.
iCal and Google Calendar
Since I have hundreds of students and lots of classes to track, keeping a planning calendar is essential to my sanity. Instead of using one calendar, I create a separate calendar for each grade level as well as one for school events that can be viewed individually or all together. Like Evernote, a “cloud” calendar travels wherever you are, viewable from any computer or mobile device.
Here is an example of my iCal calendar.
Another great option is Google Calendar. Here is an example:
While I don’t exactly teach painting or ceramics in “The Cloud”, my schedules, lesson plans, and “to do” lists certainly do live online. As a result, I am a more organized and thorough teacher ready to get my hands dirty with art supplies.
How do you use the cloud? What works best for you?
Classroom management really can make or break you as a teacher. Even if you’re a veteran teacher, there is always a new idea or creative solution to make your teaching life easier. For those of you using my favorite web 2.0 tool, Pinterest, you may have seen some of these images before, but for those who are not . . . enjoy!
Get Your Room in Order
Get those paper towels in the right place! Motivation at its best from Katie Moris at Adventures of an Art Teacher.
Short on counter space? Then maximize your wall space with these home-made magnetic containers. This would be great for art teachers on a cart too! Image source: Laissezfaire blog.
De-clutter your desk and get your paperwork in order. I love how this is labeled. Check out the makeover from the Venspired blog.
Every good art room needs a broom and dust pan – especially one that is named “Dusty”! This great idea comes from Theresa Gillespie at Splats, Scraps and Glue Blobs.
If you teach elementary, kids are always making pictures for you. But what do you do with them all? By adding them to a clipboard, you can display the most recent and still be able to look through pictures from the past. Idea from Clean & Scentsible blog.
Create a Classroom that Works
Just a subtle hint for your students (and their teachers) from Mrs. Hansen’s Art Room.
Bring peaceful thoughts to your classroom as students enter or leave. Image source Jankwilson on Flickr.
This video explains how to get a handle on the noise level in your classroom using plastic cups.
Sometimes you just need to say it plain and simple – keep order in your class by hanging a Peacemakers and Peacebreaker chart. This great idea came from Mrs. Lee’s Kindergarten class (though this would certainly apply at all age levels)
Teach with Visuals
I love this word wall Art With Mr. E created for his classroom using index cards with magnets on the back.
Help your students understand what careful artwork looks like with this craftsmanship rubric from art teacher Kathleen O’Malley at her blog, Art Moments.
Make the Most of Your Minutes
From a blog that brings organization to a whole new level, Jessica Balsey at The Art of Education shares how she has art questions ready when there are a few extra minutes left in class.
Looking for more ideas and visuals? Check out our classroom management section.
As a child I was lucky to live close enough to the Art Institute of Chicago to visit the Thorne Miniature Rooms. I imagined how different my life would be living during the historical time periods depicted in the extraordinarily detailed 3-dimensional interior designs. A new interactive game from The Art Institute of Chicago, Escape from Thorne Mansion, allows me to take a virtual leap back into those rooms.
The interactive adventure begins in a 16th century French parlor with a cryptic note explaining details to escape the mansion. Clicking on different areas of the image reveal verbal clues at the bottom of the screen and open doorways to gain entry into the next room. Your students will enjoy the challenge escaping the labyrinth of rooms using the clues found along the way.
Escape from Thorne Mansion could be easily integrated with a study of linear perspective, composition, or design. Alternatively, create a literature connection at school or at home incorporating the book, The Sixty-eight Rooms reviewed in an earlier post.
Connecting with Music
Other than the light strum of a harp in the French Anteroom, the Escape from Thorne Mansion interactive missed an opportunity to couple era music with the room design. So, I’ve decided to pick up where the Art Institute of Chicago has left off and pair a few Thorne Room images with sounds from the time (click the widget to the right of the image to listen).
The Thorne Miniature Rooms create an amazing opportunity to connect history, literature, and music with art and design. How else do the Thorne Miniature Rooms connect to your curriculum?
The web is full of amazing resources to enhance student learning, get organized, and connect with other educators. Instead of trying to figure out the best online tools yourself, I’ve boiled it down to my top ten favorites for art education.
1. QR Codes. These black and white pixelated squares can be found on TV, in magazines, and now in classrooms. Using a mobile device with a camera such as a smart phone, iTouch, iPad or free software downloaded on a computer, a QR code can be quickly created to link directly to text, images, or web addresses. Try it yourself by scanning QR code below:
Don’t have a QR reader? Type getscanlife.com into your Internet browser on your mobile device to download a free QR reader. Now imagine using this in your classroom by linking to online resources, creating a scavenger hunt, providing the answers to quiz questions, or extending art room learning by sending students home with QR code resources. Read my article on QR codes for additional resources and ideas on how to use them in your classroom.
3. Animoto. Want to look like a master movie-maker? Simply upload images or video clips, select music, and click to create an amazing movie. Just by registering for an educator account you get access to full-length movies without paying a dime. (If you’re looking for a good alternative, Flixtime has some very similar features with a good selection of music).
4. Blabberize. What isn’t funny about an artificial talking mouth? Start with any portrait, define the mouth area, and talk. The mouth will follow your voice. Use Blabberize to present information about an artist, convey classroom rules, or give studio instruction. While this may not change your teaching world, incorporating Blabberize into your lessons can certainly enhance instruction and get the students to take notice. Check out this brief example: (Can’t see this video? Click here).
Tip: Use a screen-cast tool such as Jing or Screencast-o-matic to record your Blabberize and save on your computer.
5. Twitter. If you want to take charge of your own learning, Twitter is the way to do it. Every resource I reference in this post I have learned because of Twitter. It is all about following the right people. See my list of art educators on twitter to get you started and develop your own PLN (Personal Learning Network).
6. Padlet (formerly Wallwisher). Want to have a class critique and involve all your students? Wallwisher lets you quickly set up a virtual “wall” so that anyone with the URL address can add a comment and interact. One of my favorite features is the ability to moderate comments, ensuring all posts are appropriate. Learn more about Wallwisher in this article and see how to embed a image in a wallwisher wall here.
7. Delicious is an online bookmarking tool I have been using for several years and blogged about it here. Since your bookmarks are accessible online, you can access them from any computer. Using multiple “tags” makes finding your bookmarks easy. Thankfully you can import your existing bookmarks into Delicious, so you won’t lose your previously bookmarked sites. (A similar, just as awesome, bookmarking alternative to try is Diigo)
8. Pinterest might just be the ultimate bookmarking tool for art teachers. Instead of bookmarking using text, images are used instead. The best way to describe Pinterest is with this video walkthrough:
9. Livebinder I first wrote about Livebinder as a way to organize digitally here. Livebinder is an electronic binder used to collect web resources or your own files in one organized spot. Here are a few examples of binders I have created for students and for my own professional reference.
10. Google Maps. I am a huge fan of Google Maps to help students connect art to our world. My favorite trick is to embed images into the placemarks on the map. Watch video on how to embed an image into Google Maps. Here is my example on using Google Maps to teach about Georgia O’Keeffe:
View Georgia O’Keeffe Life Tour in a larger map
Do you have a web 2.0 tool you can’t live without? Share it be leaving a comment below. Also, check out additional resources in my Web 2.0 Tools Livebinder:
Google Image search is a quick and easy way to find an art image you need for a class discussion or powerpoint presentation. However, a fantastic new painting encyclopedia, Wikipaintings may change the way you search for images.
Still in its early stages of development, the non-profit Wikipaintings already contains over 60,000 painting images. Browse paintings by art movement, technique, genre, artist nationality, or keyword. My favorite feature is the timeline scrollbar that places each painting created by the artist in chronological order.
I still love Google Art Project for the amazing depth and detail, but Wikipaintings is much better for understanding and visualizing the growth of an artist through his or her lifetime. I look forward to seeing how Wikipaintings grows once it is open to contributors; maybe it will even expand beyond 2-D work into sculpture and installation art.
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)