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Re: [art_education] Question for anyone that teaches art to fifth grade!

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  • Julia Garnett
    Hi Karen, I have 8 classes of 5th graders. I have 1,300 students, and I go to 4 buildings. I I have been teaching for 19 years. I also have had many interns
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 4, 2011
      Hi Karen,
      I have 8 classes of 5th graders. I have 1,300 students, and I go to 4 buildings. I I have been teaching for 19 years. I also have had many interns and student teachers since I teach in a town with a small university- so I have to teach how to teach :) I use a variety of methods to diffuse or use attention seeking:
      As a means of preventing misbehaviour:
      Set a tone that does not allow for misbehaviour. If the right tone is established the students will monitor each other, and expect good behaviour from each other. They will not accept anyone to disrupt their learning and creating.
      At the beginning of class I set a timer for 5 minutes. During this time I expect them to be silent. They know I will only talk until the timer goes off, and then it is time for them to get to work- this expectation really cuts down on interruptions!
      Be the example.
      I believe in always treating the students with love and respect, no matter what.  I always stay calm, and never retaliate or react in anger or frustration no matter what happens. My words I use are as positive and encouraging as possible, never demeaning or cynical. I try to give them hope if they fail, and see it as a means for growth and learning. I remember they are just little, and they are trying to figure out how to grow up. I intend to help them figure it out.
      As a class we discuss how we want the class to be. We talk about what it means to have our heart and mind engaged in our work; what that feels like, what that looks like. We talk about how we want the other artists to treat us; about encouraging words, sharing, cooperating and teaching each other. I want the class to be a place they look forward to, a place to be accepted and encouraged.
      Establish consequences. We earn and lose priveleges of using certain materials, collectively and independently.
      Establish methods and routines that are simple and predictable.
      If someone misbehaves:
      • Ask yourself- Is this just bugging me, or is this out of line? I will tell the student if I am just finding it annoying, and I ask them to stop. I tell them they aren't in trouble- it's just bugging me :) That usually ends it. Like everyone, I have days when I am just not in the mood! I try to model for them how to kindly ask someone to stop something that is bothering them, and ask them to reasonably respect each others moods and space.
      • Determine if they are a constant interruption, or if it is a one time disruption.
      If it is a one time offense- first time, or unusual for the student-
      • Sometimes they are just trying to be funny, and I let them have their moment, then we just laugh it off, then bring the class back to focus quickly. A little fun and quick wit on your part can keep the class relaxed, and enjoyable. It keeps you likable, and the class likable.
      • If it is rude, or innappropriate- It often helps to first ask them if they are OK, or if they need something. I usually speak to them privately and say something to the effect of: "You are usually so good, this behaviour is different for you- is there something you want to tell me?"  It is amazing how this works. When they are treated respectfully, fairly, and with loving care, students appreciate it and are open to you. I have bonded with some rough students because of treating them as if I deeply value them and I value their ideas, and what they have to say to me. I take the time to listen. 
      If a student is a constant disruption-
      I speak very firmly when necessary, but never out of control. My words are always encouraging and positive. They have one opportunity to correct their behavior. If they can not, or choose not to, we have a discussion. I reiterate what behaviour I want them to change. I ask them to restate the problem. I ask them what they need from me to get themself under control.  I ask them to think about what they can do to change their behavior. They will often come up with ideas and suggestions.
      If they can not or will not follow through and behave after any adaptations that we agree on then they lose all privileges.
      I consider it a privilege to be in art class. Anything they get to use including a chair has to be earned. If they can't behave they get very few choices. I have had very few students that lose all priveleges more than once. 
      I hope this helps. I do not tolerate disruptions and nonsense. I feel like each class deserves to get the most out of their sessions with me. We only have 35 minutes together- no time to waste.
      Julia Garnet
      On Mon, Jan 3, 2011 at 8:04 AM, karenhandy32 <karenhandy@...> wrote:

      Hi everyone,

      I am currently working on my thesis for grad school. I am researching attention-seeking behavior in fifth grade. My main question is:
      How do you address attention-seeking behavior in fifth grade art classes?
      Also, is fifth grade the oldest grade in your school?
      Any information you can share would be much appreciated!
      Thank you for your time!
      Karen in NJ
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