Many art teachers find that having quiet work time at the beginning of class really helps students get into a more focused mindset for the rest of class. This can be 5 minutes or 30 minutes, depending on the group and the objectives for the lesson, but it is extremely helpful.
Art class is not recess! We want our students to have fun in art, but we also need to teach them that they are in class to learn. Once, I was talking to a classroom teacher about a disruptive elementary student. She explained to me that this student was not disruptive in her class because, "I don't give them time to act up... my class is very structured and students are too busy to get in trouble." I nodded politely, but her statement revealed a common attitude toward art classes; that they are unstructured time for students to play. That is far from the truth!
- "A" "R" "T" This terrific idea is from Theresa McGee at The Teaching Palette. She has painted, wooden palettes strung together with fishing line. When the class gets too noisy or off-task, she turns over the "T" for a warning. If they continue, she turns over the "R" for 5 minutes of silence, and then finally the "A" for silent art.
|photo credit: Teresa McGee, theteachingpalette.com|
- I tried this in my classroom by writing the letters on the board and erasing them one at a time. I have been delighted with my groups monitoring their OWN noise level. I don't announce it if I erase a letter, the kids do! What would I do if this didn't work? I would implement my discipline plan for students breaking the rules. They were warned! Also, I told mine that if the "A" got turned over the last few minutes of class, Silent Art would carry over to the next day's class. This is a great system, but it will only "work" if you teach the kids first what you are looking for. Role play and demonstrate exactly what you mean by "whisper voice" and "zero talking."
- VIDEO THE LESSON: Another idea to help manage the talking (especially if you have large classes) is to video your lesson. That way, while the lesson is playing you can watch the kids like a hawk! This method is also terrific for kids who need multiple demonstrations. They can watch your demo over and over!
- Quiet Critters; Art Teacherin' 101, Episode 43, Cassie Stephens (this strategy is intended for PK-2nd grades)
- Cassie Stephens Facebook Video; Kaitlyn Edington Talks About Strategies To Keep Elementary Students Quiet
- Kaitlyn Eddington's Classroom Management For Art, blog article describing her amazing strategies
- 5 Minute Mindfulness, by Kelly Phillips, theartofed.com
- Art Room Sound Effects, (elementary school) by Cassie Stephens (for transitions, motivation, and attention getters)
- CHATTY KIDS IN MIDDLE SCHOOL, PART I, by Anna Nichols
- CHATTY KIDS IN MIDDLE SCHOOL, PART II, by Anna Nichols
- How To Stop Side Conversations In Three Easy Steps, (high school) Tim Bogatz, theartofed.com
Here is a Youtube video by Rob Plevin; "Classroom Management Strategies To Take Control Of Noisy Students." Mr. Plevin demonstrates how to meet students at the door and settle them down before they enter the room:
|photo credit; Lindsay Mouyal Parris|
Editor's note: Managing student behavior involves far more than discipline techniques. In order to create an environment for student success, the teacher needs to provide quality instruction as well as appropriate motivation. Most importantly, the teacher needs to have the right attitude for leadership in the classroom. Finally, having a solid classroom management plan with rules and procedures set up from the beginning of the year is also extremely important - students need to be very clear about what the teacher's expectations are.
disclaimer: These are a set of ideas about being proactive in teaching based on classroom experience as well as various education authors. Many times there are circumstances in the classroom that are beyond any teacher's control, especially when serving at-risk populations or in environments where those in administration fail to provide effective leadership in a school. Sometimes, regardless of the prevailing theories about teacher responsibility, the teacher is not to be blamed for out of control students. Finally, we do NOT recommend that you put any of these strategies into practice if your administration disagrees with them.
article by Mrs. Anna Nichols