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!
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.
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?
I love the buzz and energy of an art room filled with students actively involved in the creative process. Because of this, I allow my students to talk during art production, as long as they remain on-task and the noise level doesn’t become disruptive. However, some of my classes have a harder time with this freedom than others. Enter . . . “Noise Control“. This iPhone app has been very effective during times when I need students to keep noise down and raise concentration. While I can’t promise this will forever solve noise issues, a little extra help never hurts. Watch the video below to see how it works:
Can’t see video above? Click here.
Here’s a few tips to get started:
If you’re an art educator, chances are that you have heard of or even have been using Artsonia as a place to “digitally hang” student artwork. When I started using Artsonia six years ago, I knew it would be good for my students; what I didn’t know at the time was how it would become an amazing art advocacy tool.
Artsonia has become better than any student art show I could host; it reaches more family and friends, regardless of geographic distance or busy schedule, communicates art concepts in project descriptions, reinforces student technology use, and generates funds for your program. It does all that . . . without all the staples and tape.
The benefits breakdown:
Ok, sounds good but. . .
. . . well here are some of the nuts and bolts to help you get you started.
Can’t see video above? Click here.
Permission slips. Depending on your school policy, you may be required to get permission slips for participating artists. Make your own or download and customize one of these templates: Casual or Formal (Microsoft Word format). Be sure to include a space for parent email addresses on your permission slip. Increasing participation from family and friends is the key to success in Artsonia. It is worth the extra time to enter emails – parents get an email each time artwork is published or comments are posted, continually keeping them in touch with the learning going on in your classroom.
Volunteers. I started using volunteers to help me last year (I don’t know why I waited so long). I keep a bin to hold artwork ready to photograph along with a binder holding class lists, and a camera (with extra batteries). When artwork is ready, I send out an email to my volunteer list. The first volunteer to “Reply All” agrees to photograph and digitally crop the artwork. The only step left is uploading – something I still prefer to do myself, but certainly doable for a volunteer. In the fall I do a training session and provide this Photography Tip Sheet and Guidelines for volunteers to reference.
Start slow and set a goal. My first year participating in Artsonia I promised to put up one piece of art for each student. I ended up adding more, but I felt like I didn’t raise any expectations too high for the students or myself.
Do you use Artsonia? Please add your school page and any tips in the comments area below.
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.
Posted on 18. Jul, 2009 by Hillary Andrlik in All Posts, Cool+Creative, In The News, Multimedia, Neat Video, Organization and Preparation, Positive Reinforcement, Reviews, Tech Stuff, Techniques, Technology and Gadgets, Tools and Miscellaneous
If you’re looking for the image editing power of Photoshop or Illustrator without the hefty price tag you may want to consider trying the Aviary Suite. It’s a free web 2.0 technology with a pro version available for $24.99 a year. Aviary is not only an image editing tool but it’s also a visual social network.
Users maintain a profile, contacts, favorites, access to chat boards, tutorials and more. Images created in the Aviary Suite can be shared with the community or kept private in a user account, and then saved in a variety of formats or downloaded to your computer.
Phoenix does image editing and has tools like layers, masks, effects, undo history, and more. Peacock is what Aviary calls their “visual laboratory”. It features tools like generators, effects and controllers. Toucan is their color swatches and palettes. It features many of the usual color palette tools but what really was interesting to me was their color deficiency preview tool. It allows you to choose from a list of color vision deficiencies and see how someone who is color blind would distinguish your color palette. It would be a great way to teach students how other people see the world. Toucan is a simple tool, but in conjunction with the other programs in the Aviary Suite you can create some amazing images. Raven is their vector editor program and the first of its kind on the web. It allows you not only to create complex vector art but to carefully scale and create logos, clip-art, large print ready graphics, and t-shirt and clothing designs.
The newest program is an image markup tool called Falcon. It allows you to capture images from your desktop or a web page and edit them in your browser. It is similar to Skitch or Jing but with additional capabilities since it can be used in conjunction with Aviary’s other programs. Just install Talon, a Firefox extension for Aviary, and you can quickly annotate, mark, crop and resize your captured images. Or you can transfer the images to any of the other Aviary programs for more in-depth editing. Falcon would be a great tool to have students critique an image of their own, a classmates or from a pool of stock photos.
If you teach a computer graphics program at a middle or high school and are looking for an exceptional resource or additional tools to extend beyond the classroom lab, Aviary might be a solution for your program. Students don’t have to stop creating once they leave the lab since they can log on and design anywhere there is an Internet connection.
Below are two videos featuring Aviary’s Raven and Falcon programs.
(Trouble viewing this video? Try this link.)
(Trouble viewing this video? Try this link.)
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.
There are 10 minutes remaining in art class and everyone is working hard on their latest art project except for your two chronic early finishers. It never fails that some students work faster then others. When students have extra unfocused time this leaves an opportunity for behavior problems to develop. What can you do with students who finish early?
Since you never know how many students will finish early or how much time will be left in the class you might consider utilizing an “Odd Art Jobs” chart.
What are odd art jobs?
They are all those little things that eat up a lot of time and energy, which could be focused on creating great lessons, grading or helping other students. The art room wouldn’t function if these tasks weren’t completed but really anyone could get them done. An odd job could be anything from sorting scrap boxes to labeling artwork. Another added benefit is that your students take ownership and pride over the art room, its equipment and school displays.
The type of odd art jobs that you let your students do is totally dependent on how your classroom is structured. You should also take into account the characteristics of your student population. One year you may have a amazingly independent group of fifth graders that are responsible enough to look at a check list, pick a job, and complete it without explanation. The next year it might work better to keep the list as a reference tool for yourself then have kids ask you what jobs are available to help. The key is to create a system that works for your art room. In my experience, a one-size-fits all approach never works for education. In my classroom the odd art jobs chart works best for small pockets of early finishers. It’s not a good solution for when an entire class completes a project early. Check out the list of odd art jobs I’ve had students do in my classroom located below.
Odd Art Jobs
- Wash paint containers with special sponges (Usually I let them use a fun scrubbing tool I pick up at the dollar store.)
- Sort scrap boxes (I have my paper scraps sorted by color so that it’s easy to access what I need for certain projects or for classroom teachers to borrow.)
- Count out paper I need for certain grade level projects (For example, if I need 65 sheets of three different kinds of paper for my next kindergarten project I will have a student help count it out for me. This way all I need to do is cut it to size and I have exactly what I need!)
- Sort marker bins and throw out dry markers (I have the student helpers take a scrap piece of paper and make test marks on it. If a marker is dry it goes to the trash. I might even have them save the marker caps for when students lose theirs during projects. This is a great job for any age level!)
- Make signs to label different areas of the art room. (I make a list of things I would like labels for as I work around the classroom. You could spend hours labeling your supplies and cabinets. Sometimes I will pre-print the signs and the student helpers will color, cut and attach them. Some examples of signs students have made for me are how to draw book categories, warm colors, in-box, watercolor paint brush sizes and newspaper.)
- Take down bulletin boards (All of my hallway displays are at student height so I don’t have to worry about step stools. The bulletin boards are also visible from the art room or the office for teacher monitoring. I usually send students out in teams of two or three but no more. And I make sure that they know exactly what to do.)
- Glue project paragraphs to the back of artwork (I attach a short paragraph describing the art process and what students learned to the back of each project for Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades. I try to give them as much hands on time as possible so we don’t always get time to glue the project paragraphs to the framed art. This is a great job for early finishers to help with.)
- Have older kids glue or staple frames to younger kids completed art projects (I usually write the student names on the projects ahead of time. Then all my student helpers need to do is glue or staple the artwork on to the pre-cut frames.)
- Sharpen pencils (To save time while my classes are drawing I like to have my pencil bucket ready for action. Instead of kids sharpening pencils while I’m talking they simply exchange their pencil for an already sharpened one in the pencil bucket. It cuts down on interruptions and lost work time. So periodically the bucket needs to be sorted and the pencils sharpened.)
- Make Tracers for other grade level projects (I will make two or three tracers and then have student helpers trace them onto heavy cardboard. Then, I put the cardboard in our parent volunteer bin for the adults to cut out. Takes a little forethought but saves me a lot of time and energy.)
- Sort classes artwork and stuff portfolios to send home (At our schools we use portfolios to transport art work home about three to four times a year. If I have a larger group of student helpers I will have them sort a particular classes art projects into plies for each kid. Then they simply slip each students art work into the pre-labeled portfolios to send home at a later date.)
- Set up supplies for the next art class. (I often have little time in between classes to set up new supplies. So I might switch from 3rd grade to 1st grade to 5th grade. Well that’s a large amount of supplies to have out at one time and I don’t have enough counter space. So I will have early helpers take out the materials for the next class and set it up on one counter. Then when the class is over they clean up their art supplies and put them totally away. Now I have a new counter free for that class to set up supplies for the next class following them.)
- Cleaning tasks (i.e., sweep the floor, erase the board, wipe tables, clean clay tools)
- Refill art product containers (I will have students that I know can do a good job refill glue bottles, switch watercolor refills or any other job of that type.)
- Hang bulletin-boards (I usually reserve this job for older students and it is a huge treat for them. Remember, all of my hallway displays are at student height and visible from the art room or the office for teacher monitoring. I usually send students out in teams of two or three but no more. And I make sure that they know exactly what to do. Sometimes I even hang the first three or four pictures so that the student helpers can see what I expect them to do.)
- Cut out items that have been laminated (I have parent helpers laminate papers for me then I have a cut laminate box located in my room where student helpers can grab some laminate and cut it out.)
- Empty the drying rack (This is fairly self explanatory but, student helpers will take art work off the drying rack and put it into the proper classes box.)