Thursday, February 18, 2016

Managing the Art Room

Motivation Needed

Its not easy to transition from one class to the next, switch from this project to that, motivate 28 students to return the art room to a presentable, organized state in five minutes or less AND make it fun and something the kids want to do.  

I want to share with you a couple of systems that I use in my art room.  One that I have been using for  the last 18 years and one that I just began this year.  Not this school year. This 2016 year, and I'm wondering why I didn't start it sooner because it works so well and the kids love it.  

Golden Broom (the old trick)

  At the end of each class period, after the students have lined up, I judge how well the class cleaned up, and if they did a good job I award them with a ticket or more to drop in a jar (I have one for each grade). They write their homeroom teacher's name on the ticket.  On Friday at the end of the day a ticket is drawn out of each jar and the winners are announced during announcements.  The winning classes keep a Golden Broom trophy (a small broom I spray painted gold) in their homeroom for the following week until the next winner is announced.  

Clean-Up Jobs (the new trick)

I would like to thank blogger, Cassie Stephens for giving me the inspiration for this idea.  The management method she demonstrates in her blog post gave me the idea for my system.

When students are finished with their project for the day, they go over to this poster and select a clip from the poster that has a job written on it.  
I made a clip for each job needed to clean up after any project we do. Different clips are put on the poster each day or class period depending on the project we are doing.  This gives the students more ownership for organizing and cleaning up the art room.  When students finish for the day they flock to the poster to choose a job and they love being in charge of what they choose to do.  My favorite is the "shelf keeper."  This works very well for 3-D projects.  The shelf keeper directs students where to put their projects and checks if the name and class code is written on it and anything else that needs to be checked.  For example if there is glaze on the bottom of a clay piece they either wipe it off or send it back and have the owner of the piece fix the problem.  It frees me to be able to continue to circulate around the room and assist students.  The clips are attached the students' clothing so I know who is doing what.  The students return the clips before they leave. This system is great for keeping those mobile kids busy!

Happy Chinese New Year

Peace and Good Luck!

Each year my 5th graders make a Chinese New Year hanging medallion.  
Here are the "I Can" statements that I post in the room for this project:

I can:
  • Explore the art of Chinese calligraphy.
  • Demonstrate carving in clay.
  • Demonstrate good craftsmanship in constructing, carving and glazing.
We begin by talking about some Chinese New Year traditions and the differences and similarities of our New Year celebrations and those in China.  The students practice writing Chinese symbols on red paper.  I provide handouts of symbols of the animals in the Chinese Zodiac and some other chinese words for prosperity in the new year.  
Constructing a clay disk:
The students each receive a piece of clay that they shape into a ball.  The ball is then flattened by pushing it down with the palm of the hand onto the student's work mat (burlap).  The student smooths out the rough spots and when they are happy with their disk they copy a Chinese symbol onto the clay by lightly scratching it into the surface.  Then the symbol is carved using a clay wire tool over the lines that were scratched, making them deeper.  The students then create a design around the symbol with clay tools and other objects that can be used to push into the clay to create texture.  A hole is made at the top and the bottom and the student writes his or her name on the back and their class code.  
The students use red glaze because red is the color of the Chinese New Year and it is a symbol of good luck.  After the clay pieces are finished I show the students how to make a tassel with yarn and they tie it on the bottom.  

Make a tassel:
1.  Wrap yarn around a piece of 6" cardboard 15-20 times.  
2.  Tie a piece of yarn around all the strands on one side of the cardboard.  
3.  Turn the cardboard over and cut through all of the pieces of yarn.  
4.  You will have something that looks kind of like a mustache.  Make the mustache into a ghost by gathering all of the strands together.  Tie a string around the top part so it looks like the "ghost" has a head.  
5.  You are finished making your tassel!

Embellished Clay Pinch Pots

Function and Beauty

These whimsical little pinch pots were made by 6th graders.  The students were required to create texture on the outside and inside of the pot.  After the pinch pots were glazed and fired the students embellished them with beads and wire.  Two choices they had were weaving wire in and out all the way around the pot, or creating a handle with the beads and wire. See another project using clay pinch pots here.