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)
I love the new artist statement feature on Artsonia. There is just one problem . . . participation. Since its rollout earlier this year, I have had some students enter artist statements from home, but not enough. Entering the artist statements myself is another option, yet, I just don’t have the time (or want to) type out all the hand-written reflections. Then it hit me – why not use Google Forms and have the kids do the typing! I describe how I use Google Forms for self-assessment in an earlier post, but to be more specific for artist statements, I have created a tutorial below. Or, you can download the artist statement template I created for my students and edit to use as your own.
Can’t see video above? Click here.
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?
Posted on 05. Nov, 2010 by Hillary Andrlik + Theresa McGee in All Posts, Art Games, Books, Clean-up and Transition, Clssrm Mgmt, Cool+Creative, Music+Art, Neat Video, Off-task Behavior, Organization and Preparation, Reviews, Tech Stuff, Techniques, Tools and Miscellaneous
It’s those 5, 10, or 15 minutes when students finish assigned work early that can send a teacher into an internal panic. Instead of panic, be prepared. We have pulled some of our ready-to-use ideas together to help you fill those last few minutes with meaningful content.
Independent Activities for Early Finishers:
- Zentangles: In a sketchbook or on a piece of paper use pencils and pens to create continuous interlocking patterns. Here’s how others have used it: Woody’s Kaleidocycle NAEA 2008, Squido.com, Flicker Zentangles Group
- Odd art jobs
- Create a bulletin board to display ideas for early finishers.
- Draw a still-life: Pick an art tool from around the room and sketch it! You can also have a box or shelf of still-life objects for students to pick from (i.e., blocks, fake plants, toys, fake fruit, containers).
- Create an imaginary, symmetrical bug
- Color Sudoku
- Doodle Loop: Draw a line that loops over itself in several places. Now fill each new shape with a different pattern. See examples of this along with other ideas in the Doodle Lab
- Value Scale: Draw a long rectangle in your sketchbook and then divide it into 5 equal sections. Mark one end white and the opposite end black. Now try to color each space in from lightest to darkest. Challenge: Create another value scale, but use a colored pencil to fill it in such as red or blue.
- Art poster puzzle
- Utilize a Friendly Loom
- Create reading corner / area where individual students can pick a book to read on a variety of art topics.
- Create a free draw area with How To Draw books, paper and a variety of media for independent exploration.
- Check out laptops for a digital area (if you can anticipate early finishers)
- Fill out a paper or electronic assessment form
- Work in Sketchbooks:
- Sketchbooks in Schools: Using sketchbooks to inspire, motivate and engage (Amazing resource for using sketchbooks. Topics covered include, but are not limited to constructing sketchbooks.
- 149 Sketchbook Ideas
- Sketchbook Ideas
- Incredible Art Department: Sketchbook Ideas Elementary or Middle/High School or High School/Advanced Placement
- ArtTeacher’s Resource Sketchbook Assignments for High School
- Sketchbook Ideas compiled from The Getty
Large Group Activities:
- Online quiz games in MyStudiyo and PhotoPeach
- Start a book. Check out these read-aloud recommendations for elementary and for older students.
- Explore art in Google Maps. Find some ideas in this SchoolArts article.
- Play Art Toss Ball, Art Memo, Flexible Hexabits, Pictionary on the whitboard, Sculptorades, Zolotopia, or Teledraw.
- Art Vocab quiz. Give a choice is it 1, 2, or 3 (list possible answers on board with corresponding #). All hold up number of their answer (all participate)
- Music & art integration ready-to-use resources.
- Show a short video from our YouTube and Vimeo favorites
- Free Online Games by Artsology or explore these other online art games
- Magic Pocket Name
- Show Slideshare “Brilliant Examples of Photo Manipulation Art“
- Put up an art print and have students describe what they see in writing. Another option for younger students is to work in groups and generate a list of words they think describes the picture.
- Hold up artwork for a show and tell
- Critique artwork
- Quiz about art concepts to get to line up.
- Sculpture Freeze: Have your students use their body to create a human sculpture. Get specific by asking for a particular type of pose (symmetrical/asymmetrical, precarious/stable, seated/standing)
- Play Simon Says for line vocabulary. Students use their bodies to create a line (vertical, horizontal, spiral, diagonal, etc).
- Eye Spy. Ask students to find examples of art throughout the room or create your own Eye Spy.
- Swat Game. Write art terms on the board. Group the students in teams. Read a definition for an art term that is listed on the board. Armed with fly swatters, the first student to “swat” the correct word wins the round. Fly swatters are then handed to next student on team to continue play.
- Sing some art songs (Red, Yellow, Blues You Tube Video)
- Show an art teacher-created video from Art Class with Ms S or Fugleflicks
The following is a guest post written by Kathy Douglas. She is a retired art teacher from East Bridgewater, MA public schools, Massachusetts College of Art and Stonehill College. You can also follow Kathy on Twitter.
Budget cuts are everywhere these days and schools have to tighten their belts. Many art teachers report that this has had a big impact on their teaching conditions, with shrinking supply budgets and expanding class sizes. In some schools teachers now have classes that are doubled up, but with shortened class time. Under these difficult conditions it is a challenge to offer a quality art program and we are expected to do more with less.
All art teachers offer their students a time structure, space to work, materials, and inspirational instruction. As a young teacher in the early 1970s I was motivated to do this, but had class sizes up to 33, some half hour classes, a small art room and a smaller supply budget.
Through trial and error I discovered that not everyone had to do the same thing at the same time. I began the year with whole group demos of entry level “dry” media (drawing, collage, simple cardboard construction) one each class period, adding something new each week but keeping the previous options open. I was pleased to note that children sorted themselves out among the choices and worked much harder when they had a choice.
When it was time to introduce paint, I found to my delight that I could limit painters to 8 at a time, while the other students continued independent work. Set up and clean up (which I taught the students to do instead of me!) was a breeze. I was also able to offer a large variety of paintbrushes and high quality paper, as I needed only a few of each type. This benefit extended throughout the year, as I could make a dozen weaving looms useful in several classes for instance.
As the years passed and I became more experienced, we were able to add elaborate and/or expensive materials and techniques to our course of study. For example, because I could work with a few interested students at a time, I could introduce the complicated silk screen process to eight students, who subsequently became printmaking coaches for other students. With only eight screens and a very small sink, I never would have attempted this technique with an entire large class! We could afford small amounts of lovely 24″ by 36″ 90-lb paper and better quality brushes for students who were committed painters. In a typical grade three class you might see a group of six students using the silk screens, four or five children working on plaster gauze masks, several at the drawing table (one or two using pen and India ink in spill proof containers) and always, several children at the construction center building with found objects such as cardboard, plastic caps, small boxes, etc.
Why Choice-Based art curriculum’s work:
1. Students had more time to work as they set up and put away materials as needed.
2. I did not have to have enough of any one material for everyone.
3. Students helped stock the studio with their material finds and the search for these materials extended their interest in the art class.
4. I was able to work closely with small groups of interested students trying new techniques or materials.
5. Because students in large groups could spread out or work standing up, the space in my small room was used more efficiently.
6. The opportunity to move around in the room, or to find a quiet corner, helped the students cope with the large numbers.
Over time I realized that my adjustments for large groups had actually improved art learning for my students, as they took on more responsibility and became engaged in work that was important to them. I taught this way for nearly 35 years and every day the children and I learned from each other. Small class sizes and huge budgets are wonderful, but we don’t have to wait for that bounty to make it work for our students.
For more information on choice-based art education:
Teachers College Press has published Engaging Learners Through Artmaking: Choice-Based Art Education in the Classroom, co-written with Diane Jaquith.
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Last year we asked our readers to send us pictures of their art rooms. The response was tremendous and our Flickr gallery really shined with your submissions! This year, we added a new twist! You gave us a closer look into what makes your art room work with bins, posters, drawers, and binders.
There were so many great ideas and unbelievably clever storage solutions that we had a hard time picking only three photos. Congratulations to our three winners Tara Conover, Jessica Houston and Amy Kratochvil for their creative organizational solutions! You can view their photos on The Teaching Palette’s homepage.
Thank you to the following art educators who shared images of their 2010 art space organizational tips:
- Tricia Fuglestad
- Carleen Michener
- Katie Jarvis
- Jodi Youngman
- Dawn Lagerstedt
- Elizabeth Burns
- Hannah Salia
- Dusti Moran
- Melissa Giglio
- Cynthia Borne
- Tisha Burke
- Tara Conover
- Denise Pannell
- Sarah Brooks
- Amy Kratochvil
- Jeannette Anthos
- Jennifer Leban
- Kristen Peck
- Kim Colasante
- Clare Butler
- Theresa McGee
- Hillary Andrlik
- Jessica Houston
- LeAnne Poindexter
- Samantha Melvin
If you would like to add your organization images to our Flickr set, we would be happy to add them! Send your photo, name, school, and brief photo description to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s another school year and we know most of our readers have been busy preparing their art classrooms to inspire and organize their students. Did you create a genius new system for storing sketchbooks? Or is your storage room an original work of art that maximizes every inch of space available? Then we want to see it.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to see the organizational solutions used by other art educators for supplies, artwork and more? Well this is your chance to share your art space solutions… and see others.
By September 25, send a photo of your art classroom organization to email@example.com. We’ll compile all the art classroom photos into one showcase post and in our Flickr photo stream. Take a look at last years “Art Room Showcase 2009″. We’ll also feature three lucky photos on our home page as the new “cover art” for The Teaching Palette.
It doesn’t matter what level you teach, we want to see how you organize your space. No art classroom space is too small or too large to share. In the end, we hope to provide an abundance of solutions in an online gallery to help art teachers around the globe get inspired to organize their own spaces. Start opening those drawers, cabinets and storage closets and snap some photos!
How to send your organizational tip:
Snap a photo and send it as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Art Room Organization. Include your name, school, town, state and brief description of the photo.
UPDATE 9/27/10: Check out the fantastic submissions by our Teaching Palette Readers!
Center activities are a great way for students to work cooperatively, experiment with new materials, and think creatively. I start by organizing groups consisting of 4-5 students. At this time it is also important to explain the center rules including how each station works and a one minute clean-up before rotation. One of the easiest ways to keep track of time is by using a count-down clock projected on the screen for everyone to see. Centers have been a life-saver for situations when a class is finished with a project way ahead of the rest of the grade level (due to assemblies, no school, etc.) or as a back-up sub plan.
If you’re looking to develop your own art center activities, or looking for new ideas, the following may inspire you:
Pictionary. This classic game can be played in only a few minutes. Create your own words for kids to draw or use the ones provided in Squint.
Sculptorades. Cranium created this twist on Pictionary where instead of drawing you sculpt objects out of Cranium clay. You can easily create your own version with play-dough, a sand timer, and playing cards you create. Just grab a digital camera and take pictures of different objects (i.e., celery, dog, car, hand, butterfly). You can even sneak in cards that make connections to what students are studying in the classroom. Print images on a heavy weight paper and laminate for durability. Taylor the game to students even more by creating numerous sets of playing cards for different ability levels and grades.
Pattern Play. Kids love this puzzle game! I use it with students as young as Kindergarten. Or build your own wood pattern puzzle by following directions found on Mer Mag.
Toobers and Zots. Thanks to a guest post by Jan Johnson (and eBay), these sculpture-making objects are a hit in my room.
In the Garden. These soft foam puzzle pieces have endless tessellation possibilities. Busy Beetles and Batty Lizards is another option shared with us by Susan Tiemstra. For older students who like more of a challenge try Squzzle Puzzles.
Art Print Puzzle. Read this post on how to create your own for free.
“How to draw” cartooning books. Just set these out with some copy paper. Among my students’ favorites are 101 Funny People and Spongebob Squarepants. I also encourage the students to create their own funny pictures by combining two objects.
Connectagons. This product is so simple, yet creates fantastic sculptural forms.
Squizzles. I inherited a set of these square puzzles when I first started teaching. Read a product review here.
Modeling Clay. Set out tooth picks, plastic knives, forks and let the creativity happen.
Color Sudoku. Based on the original, I developed this color logic game for my students. Download this color sudoku game for free.
Laptops. If you have access to a few laptops and the Internet, let your students explore online art games. I use this page set up for students to choose their online activity (resource page created by Hillary Andrlik).
Picasso Carnival. This idea was developed by Tricia Fuglestad consisting of centers focused around Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory.
I’m fortunate to have some duplicate copies of fine art prints — most were freebies from conferences and workshops. Originally, I divided a few prints into rectangular sections for grid drawings but after inheriting a felt board I started using them as a puzzle (click image at left to enlarge). When students had free time they loved working on these giant puzzles. And I loved finding a new purpose for existing materials that can do double duty and extend learning. Below is how to create each activity.
Group Grid Drawing Pieces
- Select a duplicate print to cut up into pieces. Remember you can use posters from inserts in publications like School Arts, your state art education publications, National Art Education Association publications or vendor freebies.
- Use a paper cutter to divide the art print into even sized pieces. Each art print will measure slightly differently due to its size. Cut up a large supply of blank paper the same size as the art print pieces for students to do their grid drawings on.
- Glue directions on the back of each art print piece and number them (see example). Having the directions on the back of each piece allows students to work independently when they finish regular assignments. Click here to print Art Puzzle Directions for students.
- Laminate all the art print pieces and cut them out. Remember cutting out laminate is a great job for student helpers in the art room (see odd art jobs).
- Store the art print and blank paper pieces in a gallon sized zip-lock plastic bag. On your storage bag record the artist, name of the artwork and the number of art print pieces. (Knowing the number of pieces makes clean-up and sorting easier.) Zip-lock bags are on the student supply lists at my school. I asked a home room teacher for an extra box to use in the art room. Check with the teachers in your building.
- Introduce the group grid drawing activity to your classes and store the pieces in a box, basket or container that they can easily access when they complete their regular work. Make sure to create a place to turn in completed grid drawings as well as store drawings still in progress.
Art Puzzle Pieces
- Take the newly created art print pieces for grid drawing and add Velcro or magnets to the back of each one. This is another great job for students (see odd art jobs). What you use depends on your preferences and what you have on hand.
- Velcro is great on felt boards and carpets. Kids can easily work on a puzzle in groups in a carpeted area. If you don’t have a carpet area you can take a piece of the Velcro’s hook side to a discount store and find an inexpensive throw rug. Local flooring companies might be willing to donate carpet samples or remnant pieces. There are also lots of inexpensive ways to construct a felt board. Here is a link to one creative solution I found. How to Make a Felt Board. Find the “U Loop” fabric for velcro board online here.
- Magnets are a perfect option for any classroom because almost everyone has a magnetic chalkboard or whiteboard surface that can be immediately utilized. If you have art on a cart or travel to another building you’re almost always guaranteed to have a magnetic surface at your disposal. Other options to consider are magnetic dry erase easels, magnetic paint or even cookie sheets depending on the art puzzle size.
- Store art puzzle pieces in a labeled zip-lock bag along with the blank paper for the group grid drawings and place in an area easily accessible to students.
Below is a short video of kindergartners using an art puzzle.
Can’t view this video? Try this link.
Art museum visits and art history discussions can be great learning opportunities for students. However, it just takes a few negative student attitudes to change the experience for the entire class. The following Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) video addresses many art conversations and museum etiquette issues in an entertaining format directed at tweens and teens.
Can’t view YouTube video above? See it at the AIC website.
Possible Discussion Questions:
1. What did you learn about visiting a museum that you didn’t know before?
2. Why might each artwork have different meanings to different people?
3. What type of art do you like best? Why?