Students in the secondary level have varying attitudes towards art. Many are passionate; others do not take it seriously. In adolescence, students see art much differently than before. For many, it is no longer the enjoyable kinesthetic activity they regularly participated in; now they may not even be doing it except to get a grade in school. They become very judgmental of their own work, and are easily discouraged. At this point in their lives, they face a decision on whether they see art as something to be continuously developed, or left alone. It is not only my job to get students through a semester in my class, it feel that is necessary to get students excited about art, and help them learn to love their own creations and personal styles. My goal is to make sure students have a positive experience with art so they will appreciate it later in life. All of this begins with effectively managing a classroom by: having efficient organization and preparation in the classroom prior to the first day, maintaining a set of rules and procedures as well as safety requirements, treating a diverse group of students with equality and compassion, and providing engaging and informative instruction.
Preparing for the Start of the School Year
The art classroom should consist of available materials organized in designated bins and compartments, student cubbies and drawers to store work, and desks positioned so the front of the classroom can be seen at all times. Adjustable drawing desks are preferred so two-dimensional artwork can be worked on from an appropriate angle and a large surface can be utilized when creating projects. Art materials will be sorted by medium to improve ease when searching, i.e. clay tools placed near the potter’s wheel(s), paint brushes located near paints and paper, etc. If space is a concern in the classroom, excess materials can be stored in a separate area or room. My classroom itself will be a source of inspiration for students, with artwork of all forms hanging on the walls to show students that their uniqueness as an artist should be embraced. The desks and any furniture in the classroom should be organized in a way that all parts of the classroom can be accessed with ease.
Rules and Procedures
- Be respectful. Do not put down your own artwork or the work of others.
- Be considerate. Do not tamper with or work on other student’s projects.
- Be responsible. Clean up after yourself and complete your work on time.
- Be creative. Don’t hold back, do your best!
- On arrival: Be on-time and prepared. No cell phones or laptops allowed! Students are expected to be in their seats and ready for instructions when the bell rings.
- During Class: Talking amongst peers is allowed, as long as students are productive with their work. Materials should be used in a respectful way. They should not be wasted or used in a destructive manner.
- End of Class: Students are responsible for their own mess; they are not allowed to leave unless it is clean. Materials such as paintbrushes and tools are to be cleaned properly and placed in their designated areas. DO NOT wash clay or plaster down the sink! Try to leave the classroom cleaner than it was when you came in!
These would be my classroom rules and procedures. These particular rules are important because they teach patience, attentiveness, compassion, professionalism, responsibility, and confidence which are all essential throughout life. Simply announcing predetermined rules could bore students and cause them to forget rules. For the first day of class, I would have an activity for students to do that would help them learn the rules. I could have them brainstorm the rules. I might also assign a rule to different groups of students and have them perform a brief skit on what not to do. This would be a great way for students to learn the rules and understand what is expected of them.
- Always put away sharp objects when they are not being used.
- Wear a mask when dealing with dry clay, plaster, or other substances that are harmful to breathe.
- Be cautious with hazardous material such as paint thinner.
- If a material is spilt or glass is broken, ask someone to monitor the area while you get a broom and mop.
- Always use eye protection when necessary, such as while using a dremel tool.
- If there is a drill or lockdown, stay calm and listen to the teacher for instructions.
Safety Procedures are very important in the art classroom. I will provide further safety instructions when introducing a new material or tool which will be used in the next project. As long as students are reasonable and gentle about the materials which are being dealt with, there should be few incidences in the classroom.
It is very important to treat all students with respect and equality, no matter their background, race, disability, etc. Accommodations are to be made for students that for some reason cannot carry out a task that other students can. For example, if I was expecting a student in a wheelchair, I would make sure the entire classroom was wheelchair accessible.
As mentioned earlier, there will be a diverse mentality of students in the class. Many will likely not be interested in art, and will only be taking the class for the requirement. It is my duty to alter instruction to pertain to student’s interests so they become engaged and ready to participate.
Planning and Conducting Instruction
As art is a hands-on learning experience, students will learn most from my demonstrations. Before each project, I would prepare for a demo by having materials ready. I would show students the process of creating the entire project (or split it into sections if it’s a longer project) quickly but informatively. When releasing them to begin, I would make sure they knew exactly what to do and where to find the materials. During class, I would walk around and offer suggestions and praise to students working on projects.
Students will also benefit from slide lectures, as they can see examples of art which is beyond my demonstration capabilities. These presentations will be relevant to upcoming projects. Students are to keep a sketchbook and record ideas prior to projects. I will go around the classroom and discuss these ideas with individual students.