Sunday, December 27, 2015

In the Art Room: Art Teacherin' Resolutions for the New Year, Part 1

Kids. It's almost the New Year. And, if you're a list-loving-maker like me, that can only mean one thing: it's time to bust out that colorful variety pack of felt-tipped pens and start goal setting! I always make Sewing Goals, Health Goals, House-Cleaning/Decorating Goals and neglect Art Teacherin' Goals. Mostly because I seem to be stuck in the mindset that anything new to do with teaching must ONLY happen at the start of a school year.  Well, not this year, y'all. I'm banishing that notion and going full steam ahead with a litany of New -n- Improved Art Teacherin' Resolutions for the New Year! Who's with me?! 
One of my biggest goals as an art teacher is to jam pack as much info into the limited amount of time I have with my students. And for that reason, I'll be presenting Maximize Your Minutes in the Art Room at this winter's AOE conference! There's still time for you to register to attend this online conference and hear me chat about maximizing AND see a tour of my (new and improved for the new year) art room! 
So, without further ado, let's chat about my...
Art Teacherin' Resolutions for 2016, Part 1
("Part 1" because, let's face it, there's a whole lot I need to work on!)

My class schedule is not like most of y'all, I imagine. I see my kindergarteners for 45 minutes, weekly; my first and second for 30 minutes, bi-weekly and my third and fourth for an hour, weekly. Even with that limited amount of time, I don't want my students to have a watered-down art class. Instead I want to provide a super-concentrated, high fructose, protein-packed experience. One that is both fun and easy for me to build into a routine. So here are some new plans I am looking forward to putting into action once the kids return (by the way, several of these ideas came from the Queen of Pinterest, Donna Staten!):
An Art Class Greeting: When I open my art room door to greet the kids waiting outside, I usually have a coupla hand-raisers (what are we doing today?), a coupla complimenters (I like your hair! [really? because it's not changed since high school, y'all]) and a coupla lost-in-space-rs (Billy. The line is moving. Joining us?). For a while I snubbed this out with my Vocab-at-the-Door routine which I love but it just didn't pack the "Art class is the JAM! Let's get in here and make stuff" punch that I had in mind. Then I saw this video and got an idea to create an Art Class Greeting...
Isn't that awesome?! Of course, I plan to change it up a pinch by saying, "Hello, my most amazing artists!" but the rest is perfection. Then I can drop into my usual vocabulary routine...or, what I'm leaning more toward for a lil change-up, teaching the kids a Walking-into-the-Art-Room song. Check out how these students gather on the floor with a song in this incredible teacher's room (watch the whole video, her methods are fantastic!)...
An Art Class Song: Did you hear the little ditty the students sang as they came to the floor? I loved it! So I wrote one of my own. I wanna keep it short, sweet and simple so that the kids can quickly memorize it and put it to use as they walk in the door. Here's what I got so far: 
Walking into the art room
1-2-3
All my friends 
Are here with me
Let's learn about Picasso and
Vincent van Gogh
With the best kid artists
That I know
(and repeat till all are seated)

3. Word of the Week: Keeping What Works! Of course, I'm not throwing out everything in my attempt to maximize my minutes. I do still love the Word of the Week...
and plan to continue introducing new terminology this way. However, just one word of the week doesn't begin to cover all of the art vocabulary that needs to be taught. 
To remedy that situation, I plan to put my buddy Laura Lohman's Art Word Wall Cards to good use. I printed all of these words off and had them laminated at the start of the year...and just now got around to cutting them out and arranging them on my word wall cabinets.

I've got the words temporarily stuck onto my cabinets with sticky tack so that I can easily pluck them off and put them into my vocabulary pocket chart thingie.
You can score one of these bad boys from Amazon for a lil under $20. Or just shoot out a school-wide email and see if anyone has one they wouldn't mind parting with. When introducing new vocabulary with this chart, I like to do a couple of fun vocab games to get the kids comfortable with saying the words. 
These games are fun and quick. I use them when introducing new words, not each art class. We are trying to keep it short and quick so the kids can get to makerin', right? Oh, here's another:
Accelerated Art History for the Littles: I once went to the doc complaining of stress and panic attacks. She asked, "What do you do?" When I responded that I'm an art teacher, she nearly fell over laughing. "It's only art! How hard can it be?!" Well, I don't have to tell YOU, my art teacherin' friends, do I? Just how do we squeeze in art history, contemporary art, techniques, proper use of materials, skillz, not to mention creativity and the cultivation of some imagination in one class period? With some Accelerated Art History, I've decided. 
At the start of each art class, after our new lil greeting, entrance song and Word of the Week intro, I've started zooming this kids through art history in 120 seconds or less. My first attempts, I brought the kids over to my big art history wall and did the lil routine you see here. Which was super fun but ate into more art time than I desired. So now I show them my lil art history PowerPoint (to be shared here soon!) with a sneak peak into a new period in art each week. I've been using these books as my resource as they keep things short and sweet:

I found both used on Amazon and they have been great at highlighting the key points to share with my students. So far, we've covered cave art up through the Egyptians and the kids have loved these lil short snippets of art history. However, I recently discovered Marcia Beckett of Art is Basic's awesome TPT Art History Sketchbook prompts! Like, what?! So, now, when I am introducing this short voyage through art history, I can tie in the (older) kid's sketchbook prompts. I'm so thrilled with this idea, thank you, Marcia! (Below is a lil blurb about how I've had the kids create and use sketchbooks in my art room this year). 
Sitting Still Like a Frog: One of my goals this school year was to introduce mindfulness and breath to my students. I'll be the first to admit, I've totes dropped the ball on this one! I've been reading Sitting Still Like a Frog and I think I might have made the whole thing a lot more difficult than it needed to be. When my music teacher buddy Kiera told me that she uses the concept when she plays music and has the children listen silently while focusing on their breath, I was all, EUREKA! That's what I'll do! 
My thought is for my younger students who do not have sketchbooks to simply breathe and look at the art work I will have projected onto my television at the start of art class. You know, once, we've finished singing our entrance song and settled in on the floor. The plan is for that image presented to be from our lil Accelerated Art History lesson so I can segue right into that portion of art class. Of course, for the olders, it will give them a moment to reflect on their sketchbook prompt. 

How do you introduce the concept of breath and mindfulness in a fun way? I plan to show this video!

For more on mindfulness, check out this clippity clip!

A Flipped Classroom Attempt: I was really inspired at the AOE conference last winter by the concept of a flipped classroom. If you aren't familiar, the concept is that early finishers can educate themselves by viewing instructional videos created by the teacher. Nic Hahn of Mini Matisse has made a whole lotta strides with this in her art room and I love seeing what she's done (for example, this video above is one she shares with her students to introduce new stations in her art room!). Now, I don't have a class set of iPads for the kids to use but I do have the ability to record lessons and project them on my big screen television. I never really thought of doing this until Nic mentioned that it allowed her to, in one viewing, say everything she needed to say (cuz you know you ALWAYS forget something!) and, for some crazy reason, the kids focus much more on the telly than they do on us! It also will provide me a hot minute or two to tend to supplies and important tasks (like drinking my now-cold coffee). I'm really loving this idea and hope to start popping more videos up on my YouTube channel which you can find here
Alrightie. So, there you have it, just a sprinkling of my Art Teacherin' Resolutions for the New Year! I have many more new ideas in store for my young artists like a new twist on supply distribution, new messy mats that also double as educational tools and a squeaky clean clean-up routine! Stay tuned, y'all. Until then, you'll find me adding these fun and inspirational songs to my list o' tunes to play both for their lovely lyrics...
and their delish singers. HAAAAYYYYY, Bruno Marzzz. I see you! 

What are some of y'all's Art Teacherin' Resolutions for the New Year? I'd love to hear them! Let's inspire each other! photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png

10 comments:

  1. This post is so inspiring and I'm not even a teacher. I did send a link to a friend that is though. :)
    Your students must love coming to art class and you must be a great teacher because you put so much thought and energy into it. Good luck for 2016 - with these intentions it is bound to be great! Keep us posted!
    P.S. I hope that doctor has improved their bedside manner!

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    1. Aw, thank you! I hope your friend enjoys the post, I appreciate you sending it to her :)

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  2. This post is so inspiring and I'm not even a teacher. I did send a link to a friend that is though. :)
    Your students must love coming to art class and you must be a great teacher because you put so much thought and energy into it. Good luck for 2016 - with these intentions it is bound to be great! Keep us posted!
    P.S. I hope that doctor has improved their bedside manner!

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  3. I hope you switched doctors after that incident! How dismissive of her! Sheesh - she should walk a mile in our paint-splattered shoes! ;)

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    1. Yeah...her bedside left little to be desired. But I did learn to lighten up after her comments and inject more fun (and relaxation on my part) after that incident!

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  4. Thanks for your New Year's Resolution tips! You got me fired up again about going back with a fresh start. I teach k-8 kiddos, (9) 30 min classes M.Tu,Th, Fr with (4) on Wed + the usual staff meetings. January 4th's coming quick and my head's back in the game to get my 3 week blocks planned. I'm gonna try your greeting, seating, & vocab routines at the get go. I've always said, the kids really want to get in and make art, especially when I have pull the materials out of their hands to clean up. Thx! Hoping to do the AOE Winter conference on Jan 30. Best wishes for a super presentation!

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  5. I bought an iphone 6+ with 128g so I could make videos to show in my classroom...that was about a long time ago... guess how many I've made? You guessed it! Zero! I really need to get on that! Just think how much easier it would be if you had to get a sub! My New Year's resolution is to get my shizz together!

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  6. Your talk was so inspirational. I can't wait to try out your strategies.

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    1. Thank you, Katrina! I hope you find some tricks that work for you and your students :)

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  7. There is just something about having passion for what you do and especially when it involves kids. That just takes me to another level. I would say dealing with kids requires a lot of patience and kindness, which many people don’t really have, especially when handling a number of kids. However, this post has made me realize that it is about time people embrace their skills and passion then pursue what they love to their full potential.

    Hannah Sullivan @ Go Arty

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Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)