Posted by: keepingthemistakes | September 1, 2017

The beginning of year 9

Wow, 8 years as a teacher, done.  It has gone by fast, hard to believe!  I feel like every year I learn so much and by the start of the next year I have so many new plans and things to begin.  This year is no different, but it definitely feels different so far.  I feel way more on top of things regarding classroom management.  Part of it is due to this book. Also, I finally GET it about procedures and practicing.  For 8 years, when people would say “you need to practice your procedures over and over until your students are doing what you expect” or “don’t talk while they are still talking” etc., I would say “I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THAT!  I ONLY SEE KIDS ONCE A WEEK FOR 45 MINUTES.  WE HAVE TO MAKE ART EVERY SECOND.”  And, yes, I would yell (in my head) when I said it.  And they would respond that we would get more done in the long run because they would be paying attention more and so on.  And I would nod and smile and think HAHAHAHA, NOOOOOO.  Well, let me tell you, it finally sunk in.  And today while my third graders were working on art, I looked up and said “OH, you’re all still here?  You were so quiet I thought you’d all left!”  I’m not gonna say it’s all hearts and flowers every minute of my day, but wow.  It feels totally different in my classroom.  And the key is moderating my voice . . . not yelling, not getting upset . . . and letting each student know that I care about them.  When they leave, I give them my good-bye sign (which is how I used to say good-bye to my own kids when they left for school) and make eye contact with each one of them.  I try to call them by name and tell them to have a good week.  I told them on our first day that my good-bye sign means “I love you (care about you), I’ll think about you while we’re apart, and I hope things are good for you until I see you again.”   I have 8 procedures for each class (if you’re interested in details, send me a message, I’m glad to share), and I shaped them from Cassie Stephens‘ routines that she shared on her podcast Everyday Art Room on The Art of Education.

I’m also streamlining my lessons.  In the past 8 years, my lessons have been willy-nilly across grade levels, covering different elements of art at different grade levels throughout the year — Line with Kindergarten, Color with 4th grade, Pattern with 2nd — all at the same time. This year, I’m covering one element per month across grade levels. This month we’re doing pattern.  I’m also doing shorter lessons.  Only seeing kiddos once a week makes big projects last FORever.  I’m not saying we’ll never do big projects, but it won’t be the norm.

Next, I’m incorporating technology in a variety of ways.  Of course, we will be making digital art.  But the thing that will make the most difference for me is that I’m going to incorporate it into our classroom as a way for kids to turn in their artwork (via Seesaw) AND have a digital portfolio parents can access, and provide formative assessments (via flipgrid), which will help me be more objective and timely in my grading.

So, watch for updates on my success or . . . learning (I don’t believe anything is a failure if we’ve learned new things from it) from these new strategies.

Now, for your enjoyment (?) I’m going to share the video I made for our school-wide beginning of the year, and beyond, project.  Join us if you want.  We were able to do this big project thanks to our local Harvey County United Way organization securing a donor to cover the costs!  How awesome is that???  Yay for people willing to support public education and the arts!!!



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