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.
Back in the Swing of Things
“You put down one color and it calls for an answer. You have to look at it like a melody.” — Romare Bearden
Welcome back! I hope everyone had a restful, exciting, adventurous and/or creative summer. I did and now I’m ready to get back in the swing of things. Every year I come up with a theme for my classroom and throughout the year I use this theme to incorporate many different art skills, art history and technology. As we embark on the new school year, here are some great tips to start with ease.
Where in the Art Room is…? One activity Sheryl Depp from Shady Hills Elementary School in Pasco County, Fla., likes is playing “Where in the art room is … ?” During the first week of school, she hands out photos of different areas of her art room. The students need to find things such as the classroom rules, drying rack, recycle bin, class boxes, sinks, smocks, and pencil sharpeners. This works really well for new students and especially a new art room, or if you have rearranged your room from the previous school year.
Breaking the Ice! Many games can be used to get to know your students and for them to get to know each other. From kindergarten up to college, it’s always a fun thing to play games. For primary-aged students, you can have them sit in a circle and have the first student say their name. The student sitting next to them can say their name and repeat the name of the student who came before them, and so on. “I Spy” is another great exercise to do with the little ones, as you can point out different things in the room.
Middle-schoolers can go on a scavenger hunt around the art room with a partner. I always insist that their partner be someone with whom they are not good friends—yet. During this hunt, they need to find out one thing about their partner.
The high-school kids can play a version of “Getting to Know You” Bingo. You can make up five or six different versions of a bingo card with such things on it as: plays the piano, snowboards, has been to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and so on. Each student gets a bingo card and goes around the room getting their new friends to sign their card if they have done one of these things. They are only permitted to sign each card once. Once someone has “bingo,” they must introduce their new friends and tell something about them.
Art Rules While we know rules in the art room were made to be broken (wink), we still need some basic classroom management rules. Laura Benitez, from Franklin Academy in Pembroke Pines, Fla., made visual aids to help her students understand them. One poster she made says “Listen Carefully” and shows Vincent van Gogh with a huge ear, while another states “Make Your Dear Art Teacher Happy”—with a photo of Mona Lisa with a huge smile.
To Agree or Not agree? That is the Question. Older students don’t like to be told what to do, so a great way to make rules in your classroom is to brainstorm and have them make up the rules for the year. I like to call them “agreements” instead of rules, because you usually get better buy-in from the older kids if you do this.
Technology is a Must! Try to incorporate some type of technology into your classroom, even if you only start with a simple website. Kids today are very tech-savvy and need to connect through social media. Paper flyers are a thing of the past in most schools. On my website, and on my social-media account for students and parents only, I post assignments, due dates, and other very important dates (VIDs). I also post my wish list. Many parents are willing to donate things for your classroom, but they need to know what you want and need.
Happy Birthday to Romare Bearden (Sep. 2, 1911); Jacob Lawrence (Sep. 7, 1917); Grandma Moses/Anna Mary Robinson (Sep. 7, 1860); Marianne von Werefkin (Sep. 10, 1860); Robert Indiana (Sep. 13, 1928); Dale Chihuly (Sep. 20, 1941); Mark Rothko (Sep. 25, 1903); and Michelangelo Merisi Caravaggio (Sep. 29, 1571).
Thank you Sheryl and Laura 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.
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