Author: Rhonda

Blog 6 – Creating a Productive Learning Environment in the Art Room

My current philosophy for creating a productive learning environment in the art classroom includes keeping enthusiastic, passionate, and prepared to teach my content, as well to keep a positive teacher to student relationship that involves a social emotional component. Preparing students to learn, by first teaching students self-regulation, a social and emotional component will help students perform academic tasks and better equip themselves for the process of making. Students develop strategies and become owners for classroom management in the art room.  By taking time to reset emotions first, such as Mount Desert Elementary School in Northeast Harbor Maine has done, students are set to take responsibility for learning.  Proven responsive classroom techniques such as yoga exercise/poses or stretching, music, and/or conversation with morning meetings, students reduced stress, gathered and composed themselves for a fresh start before any learning could take place.  The importance I see introducing a social emotional component to art classroom management prepares students to meet obligations of self-control, which is crucial for the many activities that takes place  in the art room.  As well, it empowers them to embrace the process of struggle, the messiness and frustration inherent in making, creating, and producing; to grapple with uncertainties; to transition from one thing to the next; to accept the range of emotions and deal with them responsibly.

Blog 5 – Classroom Management Strategies in the 8th Grade Art Room

At the opening of the lesson for the 8th grade art class, the teacher started quickly and got right to the point on the topic for the hour:  What is Pop Art? This strategy helped to manage the class by getting their attention to think about the question.  During the lesson activity, the teacher interjected additional instructional pointers, which aside from any knowledge the pointer gave, the students were cued into attention toward the subject and the class flow was kept moving into a positive direction.  At lesson closure, the teacher cued the students into cleanup about 5 minutes before the the 10 minute clean up time, at which time she directed them to put their finished pieces to dry on the counter.  She called out students to line up by birthday month, which made it rather fun.

Three transitions I observed include 1) the lecture into to the lesson activity, 2) during a lesson into clean-up, and 3) regrouping for dismissal. Starting with 1) The lecture to activity transition was done by tying the process they would be using directly into the lesson discussion with a short demonstration all done sequentially. There was little to no disruption–the students got right to work on their pieces they had previously started.  It seemed, since they had previously started these pieces, the students were already primed and excited to get right to work, which minimized any distractive behavior.  Everyone had a piece to work on, and the two students who did not, got right to work building their “letter blocks.’  This transition went rather smoothly.  The next transition 2) was clean-up, which went a little bumpy, with some students far behind and others far ahead.  Of course, with paper scraps flying around the tables and floor, clean-up was busy with lots of movement.  The teacher gave a 10 minute time frame for cleanup.  The teacher seemed understanding with the need for the students who were behind to finish since it was a very important thing that had to be done that hour–she gave time for them to finish without getting impatient, as she becomes at times.  This transition was handled with a spirit of camaraderie.  The final transition 3) re-grouping students for dismissal was handled by calling all students to stand at their tables and to look around for any paper scraps nearby–quietly put them in the trash along with putting away any  astray miscellaneous things, and to push the chairs under the tables.  She then called students by their birth month to line up.  This changed the tone for the next situation–to quiet down, exit, and walk back to their homeroom.

Out of these strategies I observed that I would like to include into my classroom, would be to quickly introduce the topic with a hook/good question and discussion–to quickly get their attention without disruptions and interruptions and to keep the flow moving from the lecture to the demo, and onto the activity.

Blog 4 – Website, Blog, and Video for Classroom Management in the Art Room


The Teaching Palette – Perfecting the Art of Education is a website authored by two women, Hillary Andrlik and Theresa McGeee. It is forum by art educators for art educators in all levels. It is helpful with resources from classroom management, tools and techniques to integrating. Teacher resources and product review.


This Blog, Managing the Art Classroom, is an excellent resource providing information on classroom management in the art room as well art advocacy. Contributors primarily are elementary through the university school teachers. Topics covered range from rules and procedures to student and faculty respect, critiques, saving time, finances and much more.

This video is about managing groups that are working on an activity where noise level may escalate such as most experienced in the art room. This tip uses visual cues in the form of three colored cups to reinforce good behavior, to signal a warning or the ultimatum red zone.


Blog 3 – A response to “The Future of Alaska Native Education” by Paul Berg

I see the future of Alaska Native education in need of a new place-based approach to education, where the the members of village community become directly involved in crafting their own education. Although, some of the effects Berg describes, such as increased dependency and disempowerment have been noticed, I don’t necessarily believe non-natives should “back off,’ as Berg puts it, but to assimilate with the members of the village eliminating the “us and them’ and encourage mutual support, fellowship, and camaraderie for education. Personally, I have spent time in the village as teacher working alongside Native Alaskans in the classroom. I observed that they enjoyed having me at their school, and they expressed their desire for me to return to teach again. I encouraged one of my native coworkers to consider becoming a teacher, her reply was that it would take too much time. I look forward to a new placed-based approach for training teachers in the village that will foster the healing and wellness Berg describes, as well to cultivate mutual support and reciprocity between diverse cultures.

Keeping it “Positive”

It seems at every turn I find the affirming word “positive’ as the way or approach to cultivate healthy relationships–to keep it on the “positive side.’  Studies show that a positive approach to classroom management is associated with higher levels of student achievement. To keep a positive emotional climate is key and reciprocal for teachers and student alike. In the daily grind of our busy lives, in the rush of things, it is easy to reach first to the surface to make those necessary quick decisions such as quickly grabbing onto rules of dos and don’ts.  By doing so, we sabotage what could have been by only calming down to stop and dig for deeper understanding to solve problems or to redirect our reactions toward others.  Focusing on appropriate behavior, rather than disapproval of behavior, affects a higher quality of student and teacher interaction, and thus a positive emotional classroom environment  and successful  learning can take place.

Introduction – Rhonda Horton


My name is Rhonda Horton and I live in Wasilla, AK.  I am currently a student teacher at Academy Charter School in Palmer, AK.  I am working on my teaching certificate in K-12 Art with University of Alaska, Fairbanks.  I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art with the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and my studio emphasis is printmaking with a secondary emphasis in drawing.  I am also a teaching artist with the Artist in Schools Teaching program with Alaska State Council on the Arts.   So far, I have been able to teach K-12 Art as Artist in Residence at Walter Northway School in the Alaska Gateway School District and Anthony A. Andrews School in the Bearing Sea School District.

I live with my husband who is a mechanic with the State of Alaska and who is also a talented musician.  We enjoy making music together and have raised our three children who are now grown and who also play music.  We have two grandsons, one age 3 and the other 21 months.  My husband and I have built our home and continue to work on it , which keeps us very active.   We also have an interest in wooden boats and have recently restored our 1959, 25 foot, Chris-Craft Cavalier cabin cruiser.


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