My title today means many things. Thursday is almost always “one of those days” because I see 7 classes, 3 of them middle school, most of them back to back. The day just generally kicks my tail. By the time my last class comes in my desk is covered with piles of paper, paintbrushes, projector cords, coffee mugs, and so on. I’m tired, and they are one of my most energetic classes. Today also brought some amazing growth in art learning and skills, though, so I’m pretty pumped about that. I’ve been trying to incorporate choice-based art into my middle school classes. It’s taken time for me to get my thought processes about lessons changed around, but I think I’m getting there. Last week 7th grade started learning the basics of value and shading and 8th grade started learning various watercolor techniques. We continued today, and next week I will give them an assignment to take what they’ve learned and do a project that is relevant to them and their interests. I hope they will run with it. I’m so excited about the work I’ve seen them do the last two weeks!
I’ve also started using a curriculum called “Think Art Now” with my 5th & 6th graders, and the 6th graders seemed especially excited (and loud) while working on the Matisse collage project today. They are my last class, of the day and of the week, and their noise makes me really tired, but I’m glad they are excited about making art.
I’ve also started a new classroom management plan, because the noise and listening levels have risen and dropped respectively. I feel like I always have to raise my voice to be heard, and I don’t like that. I found an idea for a wall-haniging of the word “ART”, where you can flip each letter over individually when they are losing ground. I have a game where they can earn spaces each week toward an art party, so the flipping letters (haha) are based on how many points they will earn. If you can still read the word ART at the end of the class, they get all 3 points. If the A is turned around, they earn 2. If the AR are turned around they earn 1, and if the whole word is turned around they earn 0. I’m not raising my voice or giving them a warning, but just turning the letter around and hoping that those that notice will encourage the others to do what they need to do to not lose the rest. I also asked them to make a list of classroom expectations they want and can live with, as well as consequences. And I’m making a little notepad where I can share with the teacher how they did, how many spaces they earned, and which students struggled. I’m hoping it helps. Any sharing of things you’ve had success with in your classroom are welcome! Please comment!
One of my co-workers has a farm and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse on mini white pumpkins, so next week we are making pumpkin decorations for Thanksgiving. Some, maybe all, classes will be drawing on them with Sharpies, similar to the one above. I was going to hot glue construction paper details on them to make turkeys, but when I made my example (thank goodness I tried one first) the paper wouldn’t stay on. So, I’m kind of back to square one on that and I might just let everyone draw on them.
This week I realized I only have 4 more art classes with my students before Christmas. What???? How did that happen, and how am I going to get all those polymer clay Christmas ornaments done? The way time passes is crazy, that’s all I can say.
Thus ends the post of random thoughts at the end of my busiest day. Happy weekend!