Tried & True Tips for Art Teachers is a monthly roundup of advice and wisdom
from fellow art teachers, put together by the intrepid Glenda Lubiner.
Let’s make some great art!
“I’ve taught, and the first thing I did when I taught art, was not to teach art.” — Louise Nevelson
Stick to Your (Glue) Guns! Laura Benitez, a second-year elementary art teacher at Franklin Academy in Pembroke Pines, Fla., admits that organization in the first year of teaching is hectic. Here are some tips that made it easier for her.
Laura says stick to a simple management plan. Whatever positive rewards are used … stick to them! Follow through with consequences as well, as it makes students aware that you mean business. Introduce procedures for the classroom the first week, and review them throughout the year. Laura has made a personalized paint palette for each class. Each art day, if the class has a good day, they get a sticker on their palette. When they fill their palette with five colors, the next day they get a free art day. This gets them motivated for good behavior and helps them to work as a team for a reward.
Laura also prepares a seating chart in advance. Having folders labeled by table numbers and ready for each class also helps for collecting artwork. Students at each table put their dry artwork in the labeled folder that makes passing back artwork easier the next day.
Treasure Hunt in Middle School? Oh yes! During one of the first few days of school, Kelli Wilke has her Crete (Missouri) Middle School students do a “supply hunt.” They are given a list of commonly used supplies around the art room, along with a plastic bag. They are to find each item on the list and put it in their bag.
When they finish, they go through the items together and talk about each one (e.g. flexible rulers are not for sword fights, etc.). Then they put everything away. They are now familiar with the room and where supplies are so they are not constantly asking Kelli where supplies are located. It also gives them a greater sense of ownership of the room.
Chip Tip to Hang Your Art Keeli Singer from Trojan Intermediate School in Potosi, Mo., uses chip clips and clothespins to create artwork displays. She sticks a magnet on the back of chip clips and hangs them on her white boards or any metal surface. For smaller work, she glues magnets on clothespins—quick, easy, and an inexpensive way to hang your art.
Reuse, Reduce, Recycle Newly retired high school art teacher Sara Marc, from Deerfield Beach, Fla., would send a list to her school’s staff, asking for items that can be recycled. She even asked for pill bottles (without the labels, of course) for students to take home paint. She also asked for gently used folders that could be used for templates or bilateral symmetry sculpture assignments.
Packing foam that comes from new electronics was requested as well, as it is more rubbery than Styrofoam® and great for sculptures. It also makes great bases for sculptures.
Sara also recycled cardboard for assignments—constantly. She says it is the most amazing surface for oil pastels and the top layer can be ripped off for exposed textures. Old pre-cut mats are also terrific. Instead of throwing them away when they’re measured incorrectly, mat a drawing or watercolor paper to the back and have the student use the whole space. It is already matted and it recycles what might have been thrown away or ruined.
Happy birthday to Grandma Moses (Sept. 7, 1860), Jacob Lawrence (Sept. 7, 1917), Ben Shahn (Sept. 12, 1898), Robert Indiana (Sept. 13, 1928), Louise Nevelson (Sept. 23, 1900), Mark Rothko (Sept. 25, 1903) and Thomas Nast (Sept. 27, 1840).
Thank you Laura, Kelli, Keeli and Sara for your great tips!
Arts & Activities Contributing Editor Glenda Lubiner (NBCT) teaches art at Franklin Academy Charter School in Pembroke Pines, Fla. She is also an adjunct professor at Broward College.
ATTENTION READERS If you would like to share some of your teaching tips, email them to: [email protected]