Classroom management is knowledge-based; it is not something we instinctively know how to do. Dealing with extremely large numbers of students, their behavior, and organizing thousands of materials can be overwhelming for new teachers. We are here to helpYou are not alone! We all experience similar issues in the classroom. Also, whether or not you agree with what is written, we value your feedback! Leave a comment or send an email to artteacherhelp4al@gmail.com.

"Managing the Art Classroom" is a not-for-profit educational blog created to empower art teachers with the information needed to effectively manage their classrooms, thus enabling them to provide students with the best arts education possible. It is also a place for seasoned art teachers to share their knowledge and expertise about classroom management with the larger art education community…

Our mission is to facilitate ways for art teachers to work together to help one another thrive. We believe this is vital for the future of art education.

Studies show that students who have access to quality arts education have fewer discipline issues and lower drop-out rates, perform better on academic tests, and even have higher IQ scores! Recently, Dr. Tommy Bice, State Superintendent of Education in Alabama, made a statement that he found the common denominator of failing schools was a lack of arts courses offered.

Visual art teachers are more isolated than ever. 75% of art teachers in Alabama are the only art teacher at their school. Only 25% of us work with another art teacher at the same school, and there are at least 27 teachers in Alabama who are the ONLY art teacher in their ENTIRE school district. 

"A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back to back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12
     It is so important to support each other in the local community; as so many of us are isolated in the schools! No one person has all the answers, but together we might! If we can reach out to others in our area, mentoring, validating, and encouraging each other as well as sharing ideas, so much professional growth will happen! Can we end the isolation and band together? 

This website is managed by volunteers who are not compensated in any way for their efforts. There is a great deal more wisdom coming from a team of people than just one mentor - we call it the "power of collective wisdom." It is so vital for the future of art education in Alabama (and everywhere) that art teachers work together to help one another survive and thrive!

THANK YOU to the art teachers all over the state who have responded to emails with great treasuries of wisdom! You can read their general advice in; "Letters To the New Art Teacher."

Perhaps colleges and universities are doing a fair job training future art teachers, but there is nothing in the world that can really prepare you for what you face day to day in the art classroom where you are dealing with huge classes and managing thousands of art materials. No matter how long we have been teaching, classroom management and discipline issues seem to plague us. Perhaps it is due to larger numbers in the classroom, perhaps there is a downward spiral in society where kids aren't being taught to be respectful, or perhaps we are just tired of fighting the battle. I am doing a great deal of research on the web and at the library as well and I have asked several experienced art teachers to team up with me as my own expertise is strictly at the middle school level.

This website is constantly being updated, so check back often. It is our hope that you will find some tidbits of information that will help you in your teaching practice. 


Mrs. Shelly Bailey was the AAEA Alabama Elementary Art Educator of the year for 2013. She also holds a B.F.A. degree and M.ed. Shelly sponsors a huge art gala event each year to help fund her elementary art program at a large rural school. She also co-wrote a grant to fund an amazing arts integration program at her school. Shelly has 23 years of experience teaching both elementary and high school art. 

Mrs. Kristin Bloodworth has taught art at a suburban middle school in the Birmingham area since 2009. She has also taught at Hoover High School – Freshman Campus and at the Birmingham Museum of Art. In 2014 she received an Artsonia Leadership Award. Mrs. Bloodworth studied art at Bard College. She received her B. A. and M. A. Ed. from the University of Alabama - Birmingham. Her art has been exhibited at Gadsden Museum of Art, Bottletree, and Visual Arts Gallery.

Ms. Sharon Christman, retired after 25 years of teaching K-6 art, also teaches at the university level. She was the 2013 National Retired Art Educator of the Year, was National Board Certified in 2001, and co-chairs the Mentoring position on the AAEA Board of Directors. Sharon contracts in gifted ed. classrooms,  works at the Birmingham Museum of Art and holds Bachelors, Masters and EDS degrees in art education.

Mrs. Anna Nichols is the founder editor, and web designer of this website, artteachershelpal.blogspot.com. She was the AAEA Alabama Middle School Art Educator of the year for 2013 and currently co-chairs the mentoring position on the AAEA Board. She was awarded the AAEA Presidential Service Award in 2014. Also in 2014  she was honored with the Teacher of the Year award for her school and was one of the Top 5 District Secondary Teachers of the Year. In 2008, Anna was awarded Second Mile Teacher for her school and was part of the curriculum writing team for the district's visual art program. She has 13 years experience teaching art to 6th, 7th, and 8th grades

Mrs. Jill Ritchey was awarded the NAEA Southeastern Art Educator of the Year for 2013. Also, she was honored with the Alabama Secondary Art Educator of the Year award for 2013. Jill has served as the Secondary Division Chair for AAEA from 2011-2014, and was a participant in the 2011 NAEA International Art Education Delegation to India. Jill served on the AAEA board as the National Art Honor Society representative and is the visual art instructor at a large central Alabama high school.

Ms. Casey Williamson was presented the award for Alabama Middle School Art Educator at the 2012 AAEA Fall Conference in Orange Beach and she co-chaired the 2013 AAEA Fall Conference. She is the visual art instructor for 6th, 7th, and 8th grades at a central Alabama school and has served as the central Alabama representative for AAEA for the past four years. One of her students won the state YAM flag contest in 2012 and a different student won the middle school division in 2013.  Two of her students were winners in the Alabama State Council on the Arts Visual Arts Achievement Program earlier this year. She was recently selected as an Alabama Ambassador for The Art of Education Online. Casey is National Board Certified in Art; Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood.  

Note: We are very grateful to Ms. Lindsay Mouyal, Mr. Chris Screws, and to Mr. Tracy Wilhelm for their investment of time and for offering their expertise in answering questions throughout the first year of this project. We are also grateful to Mrs. Michelle Wilson as well as Mr. Olson Ross for their technological help in getting this website up and running. We also owe a debt of gratitude to Stacia Jacks and Christopher Anders for their support in this venture. Finally, we owe the art teachers of Alabama many thanks for sharing their great treasuries of wisdom with us!

Email Survey Results (November 2013 - March 2014)

Below is a graph representing the most common concerns reported during my informal survey/study. I, Lindsay Mouyal, and my dad, Peter. E. Peters, emailed hundreds of (public) elementary, middle, and high school art teachers across the state of Alabama, asking what classroom management issue was number one in their classrooms. By far the common thread was in the area of students' work ethic. Many, many teachers reported having trouble motivating their students to work hard. 

To see more data about teaching art in Alabama, click on the page entitled, "What Are The Numbers?" above.

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