Musings about the importance and impact of art and art education in the 21st century.


♠ Posted by ArtMuse
According to the requirements of my principal we have to include a rubric next to our bulletin board for the project we've shown. It's not a pretty bad idea, and lucky for me I do some form of rubric with every lesson I create, so the request isn't such a big one. However one of my colleagues told me about rubistar which is a free website specifically for making rubrics. Pretty handy, especially if your in a quick pinch for a a basic rubric.

1, 2, 3 Magic

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in
The first two hours of school on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of last week and this week were spent doing beginning of the year assessments for most of the grades. While proctoring for the tests I happened to come upon a book by our behavior intervention specialist called 123 Magic for Teachers: Effective Classroom Discipline Pre-k-8th grade by Dr. Thomas W Phelan and Sarah Jane Schonour. Being that I had the time, and it was very quiet I started to thumb through the book. I've been having some serious behavior issues in most of my classes including physical attacks by students on their peers, curing, crying, students chasing one another around the room, not sharing, arguing, and name calling. All of which make the fact that they hardly settle down long enough for me to get a sentence out pretty minor. Needless to say maybe this book will help, because frankly, I think I'm going to need all the help I can get!

The book is based on the idea of two types of behavior, 'start' behavior and 'stop' behavior. Start being doing your work, cleaning up, putting things away, transitioning, etc. Stop being, talking, yelling, fighting, getting out of your seat, etc. Both of these behaviors are handled slightly differently with 'stop' behaviors using a 1,2,3 couting method to redirect and make student take responsiblity for their actions. This counting coupled with what the authora call a 'no talking, no emotions' approach on the part of the teacher should, in theory, work. So, instead of disucssing matters with students (most matters, but of course, some matters will need to be addressed and discussed) that you simply do not get emotional, launch into a verbal tyrade, and just be fair, unbiased, and consistent. Easy right? Sure...25 yelling kids, art supplies, 45 mintes, nooo problem!

In addition to that in chapter 3 the six types of manipulation and testing behaviors exhibited by students which include badgering, tempertantrums, threats, martyrdom, buttering up, and physical tactics. Many of these are used in conjunction with one another and will happen in the span of 1 encounter. Unlike most books I've read, the examples given in this book are pretty true to form and as I read I was thinking to myself, 'yup, that's happened to me', or 'that reminds me of student x in so and so's class'.

Don't get me wrong I"m by no means plugging this book, I haven't even given its approach a test run yet, but I figure its as good a place to start as any, and after reading it, it gave me a glimmer of hope that I might tryp a managment strategy with a chance of it actually working. I'm going to try it tomorrow on one of my first and third grade classes. We shall see....

Back in the saddle again

♠ Posted by ArtMuse

I suppose you could say I took the summer off, (even though I taught summer school). Now that we're already 3 weeks into September, I am fully back into the swing of things again. Working at a new school in a new place is stressful to say the least, but so far I think given the challenges facing me, I'm adjusting pretty well. This year I'm teaching art to grades k-5, in an urban school. I don't have an artroom, have about 400 bucks in supplies, and have a small closet and cart (which I have since labeled with a large bright 'The Art Cart' sign. I have a pretty large task ahead of me, instructing students who have never had the opportunity to have art in their curriculum before. The biggest obastacle? Classroom management. Not only do the students not know how to handle materials, but set up and clean up is pretty new to them as well, coupling that with their rambunxious behavior and short tempers, its a pretty tall order to get them to even listen to me.
Alright, I know I'm kvetching, but I've got some pretty good lessons lined up and am not going to take anything less than success as an outcome. Up till now I haven't completed any projects with the students so for now I'll show you some images from my summer cartooning class. This was a 6 week course taught to 6-9th graders in cartooning. My main focus was to have them create a large storyboard size finished project of either a comic strip, series of comic panels, cover art, or one large panel cartoon. Here are some of the finished results: