Friday, March 11, 2011

keepin' it real...real organized

Just a couple of pics of how I try to push self sufficiency on my 7th and 8th graders:)
I tried numbering/lettering the was CONFUSING for everyone.  This way I don't have to tell students where supplies are kept or go fetch them.  MWHA HA HA (evil art teacher laughter)

I just broke down and spent the $4 at the big box store (which I don't want to openly endorse) for these bins...I was using cardboard boxes but they were pretty raggedy and didn't have lids.  It eliminates me having to track artwork around the room or call in an excavation team to find my desk!
In both instances if students "don't know where something is/what to do with unfinished artwork" I tell them, without any sarcasm, that I think they can figure it out...well maybe I raise an eyebrow;)

"Is I on the right track?"

As I am obviously not strictly speaking an English teacher,  I swooned when my student asked me this question.  Seriously.  Annoying grammar aside (I have bigger fish to fry!) it warmed the cockles of my heart to hear one of my pet phrases repeated in question form.  We're working on the Organic Shape/O'Keefe lesson plan that I wrote about earlier.  This time around it's a little tough going.  I realized after a couple days that students hadn't yet had the time in Art to build their self confidence in drawing or experience hard work paying off.  I began to start and finish my hints/suggestions/critiques with "you're on the right track."  Apparently, the phrase stuck!  In fact, a  few days later I again used this phrase with a new student.   I didn't have time to explain myself when he asked, "What?" in honest confusion before another student jumped in with a translation of my catch phrase:)  sometimes I feel like an honest-to-goodness teacher.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

RIP: Bad Mondays

I have found week after week, month after month that my students REALLY hate Mondays.  Beyond being tired or lethargic or slow, Monday's classroom behavior is usually the all time low for the week. 
I think the general funk is due to the difficult transition from home to school, to the changes in expectation placed on them and their general feeling of lack of control over their environment.  In fact, I try not to introduce anything new (or talk very much) on Mondays.  I have ranted and raved in the past on the subject, to no avail.  My students' external locus of control (is my ed psych professor smiling?) simply does not usually allow them to take power over such circumstance such as the day of the week.
So, after an especially frustrating class this Monday, I decided to try something NEW.  Part of the idea came from somewhere on the Incredible Art Dept (if you know where exactly, please share!) for students who have a habit of saying, "I Can't".
First, students wrote or drew three reasons why Mondays are terrible.  The paper was then folded in half, and they wrote "BAD MONDAYS" on it.  Next we read with partners two pages of suggestions I printed off the internet to make Monday a better day (go to bed early, stop for a better breakfast, pick out a cuter outfit, etc.).  We shared the suggestions and students even had some of their own!  Then we tore the bad monday papers up, put them into a quick coffin I made:) and laid bad mondays to rest...complete with me humming Taps.
I will not pretend that this has transformed classroom behavior in a day, but perhaps some students will think it over and allow it to change their current pattern of thinking... Well I can hope can't I?