It is mandatory that students in my classroom take part in cleaning the studio.
Things the kids clean…
7. Paint splatters on walls
8. White boards (clean)
9. Bulletin boards (take down display, take out staples)
10. Organize and clean out all the different classroom media (crayons, color pencils, markers, watercolor, pastels…)
11. Wipe down rulers and scissors
12. Organize paint cabinet, glaze cabinet, glue cabinet
13. Tidy up storage closet
14. Return things to media center
15. Table bins (wipe down)
16. All door and cabinet handles
Truthfully, some classes clean the same things in order to get the room as clean and prepped as possible. Most of the time I still have to go behind them and touch up- but this year they did a GREAT JOB and I even had kids ask to come in in the morning to help me out.
Reasons WHY the kids participate in cleaning the studio:
1. The studio is their work space as much as it is mine.
2. Letting students help in closing the studio helps them to have a bigger “buy-in” to the space.
3. Helps them feel more responsible for keeping it clean in future classes.
4. It helps me keep my sanity.
Edited to add:
I ask for volunteers during the school year but cleaning up the space at the end of the year is mandatory- no matter how small a part they play. I keep the room neat during the school year so this is not a huge undertaking. The kids love testing the materials... And they like organizing the supplies and cleaning the whiteboard. As soon as they are done their "reward" is yearbook signing time/ so the cleanup normally takes all of 10 minutes.
It sneaks up on me.
I know it is coming- but the end of the year always seems intangible until it creeps up behind you and yells “BOO!”
I got caught in the tidal wave of end-of-the-year-ness and before I knew it- the kids were out the door and my room was eerily quiet.
I have no idea how everything got completed- but it did. My sixth graders finished clay projects, book marks, cards, and portfolios. My seventh graders completed their still life station drawings, positive/negative bugs, optical illusions, and portfolios. My amazing eighth grade classes completed their surrealism hands, cards, sketchbooks, their digital portfolios on Weebly, and their physical portfolios.
There were interruptions- SLO testing, make-up testing, more make-up testing, performing arts performances, HS color guard recruitment, yearbook signing, 8th grade students going to Disney, the other group of 8th graders going to Six Flags, and not one but TWO 7th grade field trips.
It required many chai tea lattes and one crying session (when the kiln broke the WEEK BEFORE SCHOOL LET OUT) but just like every year, things get done (and fixed) and the next chapter starts.
I'm exhausted- I'm not going lie. The road to this summer break has been a roller coaster but I'm curious to see what next year brings. I'm excited to try new things, reach new goals, and create. Next year is going to be amazing.
The art room has a distinct smell. Glue and paper, paint, and pencil sharpenings come together to form a smell I now relate as my second home.
I learned very quickly in my college observations that there is a level of chaos that each teacher needs to operate. One school may be filled with color-coded, organized, labeled containers of materials while others…well, are not.
Over the years, we all start out with ideas of what we want our classroom to be. Our high expectations never change, the way we reach those expectations do.
When I got to my current (and only) school 8 years ago, I couldn’t walk into the storage closet to the kiln room because it was so full of STUFF. The previous teacher had organized things in a manor unknown to me and I had to wade through the years of fabric and pillow stuffing to get to the kiln room. I was fresh out of college and wanted my classroom to be neat, clean and organized. I did not understand the boxes of buttons. I did not understand the cabinet filled with broken tiles. I spent a full week before school started making the room my own. I organized, I cleaned, I labeled and color coded. I carefully hung up and measured for posters. I took everything out of the storage closet and put it back piece by piece. I had my own keep, toss, and recycle piles. I thought I won a giant game of Janga… but then the kids came and I realized I had to get another game plan.
Over the years, I have become more and more relaxed with organization in the room and have started to embrace the need for organized chaos. I have been teaching for 8 years…and here are my tips that have either lasted, changed, or developed over time.
1) I label all the cabinets and drawers. If a kid needs glue, I just tell them to go to cabinet 4. Scissors? No problem… drawer 24.
2) Decorate the cabinet students use the most in a distinctive way. I have one cabinet that the crayons, color pencils, and markers live in. Behold…the bird cabinet. Really easy to find- and it cuts down on confusion and the "where are the.." questions.
3) I don't number EVERYTHING in the cabinets anymore...but I do have crayons, color pencils, and markers in numbered bins. I have enough for each table to have their own bin. If you sit at table 4 and used a color of blue from the cabinet yesterday you don’t have to look in all the bins to find the color you need… you just get number assigned to your table.
4) My turn-in cart is amazing! It rolls. Kids turn things in on it. What is there not to like? It sits in the corner of my room and it collects art. It is pretty much my 3rd arm.
5) I have a board in my room that I use to hang up nameless art. If the students notice they are missing a grade for a project, that is the first place they look.
I have let go of my original ideals of what an art room should be. I now have my have chaos (semi-organized) in the classroom. The mess is a part of the creative process and it makes the art room a better place to be.
Assessment in the art classroom is a conundrum. On one hand we want to encourage process over product and free thinking. How do can you grade that? Assessment in the art room in necessary on many levels. We need to be aware of our student’s needs and successes. Our students and their parents need feedback. Our schools mandate and require it.
Our VA standards have 5 main categories. Production, Meaning and Creative Thinking, Assessment, Contextual Understanding, and Connections. Each project we do fits correlates to the standards we cover in the classroom. It can be a daunting process to use assessments in the art classroom- but it is required and necessary to give our students authentic feedback and to allow them to assess themselves.
Due to our standards based grading system- we have to classify each of our projects as one of the 5 main categories in order to add them to the grade book. We worked closely with our arts supervisor to come up with which project/activity should go under which category. After working with these percentages, I noticed that Assessment and Reflection might need more weight and I might need to change some things around for next year.
So... how do I assess in the art room?
1. Visual check lists
2. Thumbs-up/ Thumbs-down visual check
3. Tickets out the door
4. Pre and Post tests
Pre and Post tests seem like a difficult thing to do in the art room, but it can be as easy as comparing drawings of a city before and after linear and atmospheric perspective is taught.
5. KWL charts
6. Short answer questionnaire
7. Actual check lists
Students should be given rubrics before the project starts so they know expectations from the beginning. They can also self monitor their progress during the project. Students in my classroom are required to fill out the rubrics and check lists before they turn them in with the projects is order to self-assess and look back at their creative process.
I don't think I follow any specific theory on assessment- I just do what is best for my kids. I'm not influenced by any one person or style or book in particular. I have discovered what works for my students and my assessment strategies have changed and grown over time from that discovery.
I want to point out that ability is never a criteria I grade. I tell students I grade on effort, completion, and mastery of the standards. I let my students grow and experience art without having to worry that they are not good enough. I explain to them that while care and craftsmanship matters, it's the process and the experience that will help them grow.