There are many types of students who come through the art room each year. One type of student I have encountered over the years is the excessive question asker. Does that line look right? How do you think I’m doing? Where do I turn this in?
Now lets be clear on the characteristics of this type of student.
Excessive Question Asker Characteristics
- asks a lot of questions about every step of a project. Even if there are written & drawn reminders easily accessible. They have to talk to you (the teacher) about each step again before they can move forward.
- asks a lot of questions even though they are bright and (most of the time) understand the concepts without extended explanation.
- is most likely not disrespectful or disruptive to the class. They know the art room procedures and can work effectively within the environment.
Of course no two students are the same so there are lots of variations in what you might observe from the excessive question asker in your art room.
A colleague shared the idea of using a ticket system to help regulate students who are prone to excessive questioning. It’s pretty simple. The student gives the teacher one ticket and then can ask one question. When their tickets are gone for the class period they can’t ask you anymore questions about the project.
Now this could sound harsh or absolute but it helps force students to look at other information resources in the art room. So instead of taking the easy way out of coming to the teacher or looking for constant adult confirmation they will need to seek alternatives. You will notice that they pick up their heads and look at the board. They will survey the students working around them to compare their progress. They will ask classmates questions. These are all great strategies for kids to keep in the classroom loop. Plus they learn to discern which questions are really worth their time to ask.
I typically start with three question tickets per class. You can adjust the amount of tickets per class up or down to fit your students educational needs. The goal is to eventually wean the student off the ticket system. As students improve and learn to prioritize their questions you can decrease the amount of tickets per class.
Below is a PDF of printable Question Tickets that you can use in your art room. Just print, cut and laminate to reuse over and over.
Click here to download: Question Tickets
As a funny end note, I once had a student ask, “Mrs. Andrlik can I ask you a question about the question tickets?” At that point they had no tickets left and half a class period to go. It’s so hard for some students at the start. I just laughed and let them ask their question even without a ticket.
Don’t miss out on your chance to win a free online art class from The Art of Education! Just submit your lesson by May 31st and you’ll be entered to win. Click here for more details.
Posted on 06. Sep, 2011 by Guest Author in All Posts, Challenging Students, Clean-up and Transition, Clssrm Mgmt, Conflict Resolution, Off-task Behavior, Organization and Preparation, Positive Reinforcement
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!
Posted on 05. Mar, 2011 by Theresa McGee in All Posts, Challenging Students, Clean-up and Transition, Clssrm Mgmt, Conflict Resolution, Off-task Behavior, Organization and Preparation, Positive Reinforcement
Kindergarten is my toughest class. Some teachers are “naturals” at teaching Kindergarten, but not me. The first time I taught Kindergarten was in my first class of my first teaching job. As it turned out, it was one of “those” classes that come around once or twice in a career. Lucky me.
Here are a few highlights during my first month teaching Kindergarten. . .
- A couple boys thought that they were “puppies” and decided that crawling under the tables and barking would be a good idea just at the very moment the principal walked in the room.
- The “potty train” to the bathroom was getting out of hand until the one day I said – “No more- no one else can go until after class”. Then a child promptly peed right on the floor.
- Another day, I was handed a lovely lock of hair (draw your own conclusions on what happened).
And those are just a FEW of the highlights!
I did survive get through Kindergarten that year, but it has taken several more years to really feel like I can manage a class effectively. Below I have listed a few suggestions that work for me.
Lesson Ideas. It is hard to teach art without the lesson ideas. Here are a few successful art lessons I have used with my Kindergarten students, along with a list of art ideas from other teachers.
Classroom Management. This will make or break you. I love the post written by Jessica Balsley “Teachers, Forget Your Lesson Plans“. She discusses how important the classroom management details are to implementing a successful art curriculum. The following is a list of strategies I wish I had during my first year teaching Kindergarten.
- Create a supply table or counter-top. Pour the paint, set out the paper, organize materials. Make sure you have enough of everything so that you’re not running around during class trying to replenish supplies.
- Label front of smock with child’s name. Have them wear it to every class until you know their names.
- Don’t bother with seating charts. They forget where they sit. If you are continuing a project from one class to the next, strategically place artwork from the previous class around the room with name side showing so that you can separate students appropriately. However, sometimes it is necessary provide “learning locations” (aka assigned seats) for few children – just write it down so you’ll remember from class to class.
- Only put on their table the supplies they will need at that very moment – everything else is just candy and causes more problems than it is worth.
- Smile. You can be a kind, nurturing teacher and still have students meet your expectations.
- Check out the whole brain teaching strategy described in a great guest post by art teacher Katie Jarvis.
- Name on paper. Always make this the first direction before anything else. Check to see that it was actually done (because not all Kindergarteners are capable or even want to write their name) Then move on.
- Get students attention quickly. Try these attention grabbing strategies in art.
- Find things that make kids laugh, it can grab their attention, but don’t be TOO funny (there is a backfire point for everything).
- Before you give any instruction or demonstration, wait until all eyes are on you, bodies are sitting up, nothing is in hands, and all voices are off. Don’t say a word, just wait. It might be 1, 2, or even 4 minutes. It will kill you to wait the first time. If necessary, give hints to kids quietly that you “wish you could start but you’ll just have to wait”. Wait until everyone is looking, with mouths closed for a full 8 seconds. Wait as long as it takes – it might take months to see real progress, but it WILL happen if you remain consistent!
- Eliminate distractions. If you have the space, pull all the kids together for demonstration or discussion.
- Pace your lessons. Show only a couple of steps and let them try it. Gather the class together again, and show a few more steps. This will not only help all your students feel successful but it also slows down the rushers and buys a bit more time for the slower workers.
- Don’t let a demo or discussion last longer than 10 minutes. Even if they’re sitting quietly, chances are you’ve lost them.
- SLOW DOWN. Yes, I know sometimes it is impossible – a clay project that has to get finished or one last step in a painting process (occurrences that only art teachers can fully understand). But the beginning of Kindergarten, make sure you build in extra time or alternate your “messy” lessons on one day to “not-so messy” on another. Use those classes that don’t HAVE TO have artwork completed to teach classroom procedures.
- Don’t get mad if students are not following your procedures. Just practice the proper behavior until they get it right. Complement the children when you see them doing the right thing and let their homeroom teacher know when they do a good job.
- If students are still not following your procedures, walk students back to the outside of their regular classroom and start class over. They hate it. Waste their time now, then you will get more time back later.
- Teach them the “need to know” rule otherwise known as the Tattletale Trauma.
- Potty trains. Rule: One person to the bathroom at a time. No one is allowed to go to bathroom while you are giving instruction. (yes, once in a while if a kid is giving you “the look” and holding himself, that would be a good time to make an exception)
- Transition activities. I have several different puzzles set aside for students to work on as students finish their artwork. Train them on your expectations for sharing, quiet play, and clean up. Students who have trouble with these expectations should lose the privilege during that class.
- Absent kids. If you’re working on a project over two or more class periods, and a child is absent on the first day, grab a piece of paper that the children are creating art on and add the absent student’s name. The next week, you will see if anyone was absent or not by the blank piece of paper left from the week before. Group absent kids together to give instructions for catching up at the same time.
- Don’t expect your students to remember a list of clean up procedures. Give them a visual – create your own clean-up map.
- Brushes. Train the students to drop brushes in the sink or in a soak cup. As much as you may want to teach them how to clean their own brushes, with limited sink space, it needs to be used for hand cleaning, not brushes.
- If you use sponges, squeeze them out for the students and only give them to children who are sitting at their seat. The table signals that they are finished by stacking all the sponges. Peers pressure each other to follow the procedure and it gets the sponges out of the hands of “enthusiastic” cleaners.
- If the room is still a mess, ask the children to each pick up 10 (or 20) scraps off the floor.
- When it is time to line up, send only a few at a time. You could choose to have students who sit the quietest, clean up most efficiently, or who are most helpful to one another.
- Have students SIT in line. It is harder to bump into someone when they are in one stationary spot.
How do you manage your Kindergarten classes?
The following is a guest post written by Katie Jarvis. She has been teaching art for nine years and currently teaches at Cameron Elementary in Alexandria, Virginia.
At the beginning of every year, art teacher’s everywhere make up a “rules poster” to review with students on the first day of classes. Throughout the year I would find that the students would claim to forget or not know the rules. While researching art room rules last year I came across a teacher on Youtube, Chris Biffle, a college professor who taught what he called Whole Brain Teaching.
How does it work? At the beginning of every class the students and I recite the art room rules. The rules have hand motions and each week we change the style in which we say them- squeaky voice, deep voice, sad, happy, fast, cowboy, etc. The kids love it! In fact if I try to skip over doing the rules even my 6th graders complain.
I created a video to illustrate how I teach these rules on the first day of art. Trouble viewing video below? Click here.
There is also a scoreboard to help with classroom management. I mark “smiley faces” and ”sad faces” on the board as the class earns them (see monkeys in image on left). When the class earns a smile they get to cheer. When the class earns a sad face everyone groans. The points are tallied at the end of each class and a gold paintbrush is awarded for more smiles than frowns, a silver paintbrush for an equal number of smiles and frowns, or no brush for more frowns than smiles. Four paintbrushes earn the class a free art day. Each silver brush is worth 1/2 a gold brush (2 silvers = 1 gold)
The most effective tool I’ve learned from Whole Brain Teaching is getting the students attention. When I say “Class” they say “Yes!” I vary the way I say class to keep them on their toes. For example if I say “Classsity, Class” they respond “Yessity, yes!”
Whole Brain Teaching involves lots of hand gestures and verbal responses from students to keep them engaged and entertained. Using WBT creates a “peaceful classroom full of orderly fun”. Students have more fun following my rules, since I switched to Whole Brain Teaching, rather than ignoring them.
There are all kinds of behavior incentive systems. Not all are practical for the art room where you literally have hundreds of students passing through your room each week. With the high number of students and the limited amount of contact time, what can effectively track behavior, motivate a class and target a specific undesirable behavior? Well, you might want to try the “Magic Pocket Name,” a simple but effective incentive program that I picked up from my colleagues. It can work in concert with other behavior systems you might already have in place.
It works by focusing on a specific undesirable class behavior such as talking without raising their hand, putting their own supplies away without being prompted or keeping hands and feet to themselves in line. For my classes it was paying attention and not talking any time I gave directions. My goal was to get students to focus their attention faster so that the class could receive directions and start working as quickly as possible.
Here’s the rules as you can explain to the class:
- Tell the students that you’ve picked one student and written his/her name on a piece of paper or a customized ticket, which has become the “Magic Pocket Name”.
- Put that ticket in your pocket and explain to the class that every student will eventually be the Magic Pocket Name.
- At future classes, remind the students that you have a new Magic Pocket Name – perhaps let them see that you’ve written it and are putting it in your pocket.
- **IMPORTANT: Never announce the name. Since no one knows if they are the “Magic Pocket Name” they all stay super quiet.
- Throughout the class, secretly watch that specific student to determine whether they were paying attention, following directions, etc. (or whatever behavior you wish).
- If the Magic Pocket Name student demonstrated good behavior, announce their name in line at the end of class. I’ve found that the rest of the class will show support and applaud the winning student. It’s really cute.
- Tell the students that that student’s ticket will go into a weekly drawing to win a prize from the prize box, or something similar. Each class should have their own prize drawing with multiple winners.
- If the Magic Pocket Name student was not cooperating or demonstrating the key behavior you desired, simply announce to the class that there is no Magic Pocket Name winner today.
**Now, this is important, you never say the name of a student who “lost” the Magic Pocket Name. First, it could potentially have negative consequences by embarassing the student. Second, by keeping the name unknown, they all reflect on their own behavior. It makes them think about their own actions during class. It also helps you rotate your attention through out the class for monitoring student behavior and gives you another piece of data for assesing student behavior. I simply make a note in my grade book to keep track of the Magic Pocket Names. On the other hand, when a student “wins” the Magic Pocket Name, it reinforces their positive actions and develops class comraderie through encouragement as they often remind one another to be on their best behavior. It’s a simple system that you can use on a regular basis or selectivley with challenging classes.
We have all heard the phrase “don’t be a tattletale”. It was likely muttered by an adult trying to gain some sort of control over continual interruptions in a classroom setting. Although well intended, the phrase sends a mixed message to children on how to deal with peer conflict.
I have significantly cut back on unnecessary “reporting” in my classroom using the “Need to Know” technique. While I secretly appreciate when inappropriate behavior is reported, many times the information is just not something I need to know.
The student reporting can be divided into two simple categories: “need to know” and “don’t need to know”.
Need to know:
- If someone is hurt (sick, bleeding, crying, etc.)
- If behavior of someone is dangerous (someone is standing on a chair, someone poked with a pencil, tripped, pinched, hit, etc.)
- Have a problem that you have tried to solve, but cannot on own.
Don’t need to know:
- If a another student is not following the exact directions. (These are actions I might be aware of, or will catch on to shortly.)
- Feelings were hurt or student is accidentally touched/bumped. (Try to allow child to solve problem on their own for 1st offense.)
Once you have discussed your expectations and role play “need to know” scenarios, consistency in action will determine success.
- Donna reports that Brad is holding a couple markers in his hand. While Brad isn’t supposed to have anything in his hand, it is not worth stopping instruction to address it. In this case I would ask Donna “Is this a need to know?” Upon reflection her answer would likely be “No” and we could continue instruction while reinforcing understanding of the technique.
- Danell reports that Bill said something mean to him. Ask, “Is this a need to know?” Danell says yes, because he told Bill to stop and he did it again. At this point, since the child tried to handle it himself and it didn’t work, this has become a bully situation and it needs to be addressed by an adult.
While we want to help students solve their problems, often empowering them to solve it on their own is the best for the child, teacher, and classroom environment. Situations where I encourage students to solve their own problems and use their own words are: someone . . . colored on my paper, copied my idea, won’t share, is humming, made a face, didn’t clean up (see Clean-up map to address this problem).
Thank you to Gail Edgerton for inspiring “Need to Know”.
Elementary art rooms often have a whole different set of disruptive behaviors that need attention. With limited student contact time, you need art specific strategies that work. Check out our our easy to read “Disruptive Student Behavior/Dealing with Difficult Situations” tip sheet. Learn how to diffuse and mediate arguments, stop running and pushing or handle a student who lies. These particular art teacher tested tips will help you gain control of your classes so you can concentrate on what is important, teaching art!
Print a copy to keep on hand and add to it as you discover solutions that work for your classroom. Or customize the tip sheet and put it into your substitute folder as a reference tool.
One tip is to have pre-printed “concern” slips ready (example). Students can write down concerns and turn slip into teacher to look at when time allows. If applicable to class, discuss during next class period. If the solution needs student “buy-in” then have the class decide on 3 possible solutions/consequences (acceptable to you and have the class vote on the solution/ consequence they would like to implement).