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How to handle the Talkative Class


From: Judy Decker (jdecker_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Aug 16 2003 - 16:31:06 PDT

Here are some tips that worked for me.

1. Play interesting music - music they are not familiar with. My kids liked
my different music (cultural or time period music). (I have compiled the
list suggestions of music to play from Getty members but will not be putting
it on the site - I will forward during the next TWO days to anyone who

2. Put ART on the chalk board (recommended by a Getty member and something I
had also done years ago in a Catholic school) - calmly erase letters when
the kids get too noisy....make a big production out of it if they get down
to just the T. I told my kids "Don't make me do this. I know art is the most
important subject in school - don't make me take it away from you." I never
had to erase the T (I did have text books and had lessons already planned
for them to do if need be). Before I started doing this I did yell at a
class once (I have never done that! I embarrassed myself really - but boy oh
boy were they ever quiet the rest of the class (giggle) They next day I
really apologized to them. The kids said "Mrs. Decker, you need to yell at
us more often". I said "No - you do not need to be yelled at - and it won't
happen again in here". What I did was turn the lights out if they got loud.
(we were never doing anything dangerous with 6th grade). Train your sixth
graders real good and you will not have any trouble with 7th or 8th grade.
My signal for the class to be quiet was the word "Class" I always laughed at
myself if I didn't put the wait time in. How many of you remember the Cheech
and Chong "Class...Class....Class...SHUT UP!" routine? (Well my hubby was
just reading over my shoulders and he doesn't remember Cheech and Chong -
could it have been Bill Cosby?)

One year I did the "Museum Board" idea the Clark Fralik posted (see below).
I just made a template using Excel or Word - and pasted a little art museum
at the end with some kind of mark every ten squares. I used stickers to mark
the reward points (even had the kids put them up at times if one was close
to the board and I was not). I never did get around to making a fancier
board/form (I will see if I still have it on my computer). When the class
made ten spaces - they earned a "Jolly Rancher Day"...I didn't always have
them on hand so on days I didn't they just clapped for themselves for being
such good students/earning the reward (saved me a bunch of money -ha-ha). If
they reached the Art Museum they earned a "Free Day" on the Internet using
my web site (they LOVED this) - my site was fairly new then and the Internet
was a newer experience for them. They could go to any site that was linked
from my site (not just Art Museums - although many chose Smithsonian sites).
Classes could earn extra squares if students did "random acts of kindness".
I never took a mark away if they were naughty though. Even individual tables
could earn points for the class. I found all sorts of ways for them to earn
their points towards the museum. It is a long story why I didn't do it the
next year... The ART (on the board) was working just fine by itself, though.

3. Never punish an entire class....If I ever would have needed to take art
away - they would have been doing a meaningful lesson in the text book. ~
Judy Decker (

Check for more on this March 2000 thread.
Re: Classroom management.
From: Clark Fralick (
Date: Fri Mar 03 2000 - 20:43:28 PST

I too have my elementary artroom management designed with larger tables made
up with smaller ones. I tried new arrangements yearly and this one works
well. Instead of origami cranes, I use either colors, artists, styles etc.
but all are connected in some way. (i.e. Red, Fauves, Matisse etc.) Instead
of a box, I use empty paint cans with the table names on the outside and
crayons, pencils, erasers and scissors on the inside.

As far as whole class recognition, We play a board -like game called "art
museum." It works very much like the board game Candy Land. At the end of
class if they (the class) does a good job. They get to move their game piece
forward on the game board which weaves in an out of the "art world."(set up
any way you want)
The board is 40 spaces long and divided into 10 space segments. After each
10 spaces the class gets a reward. (a sticker, piece of candy, extra recess,
etc). At the end of the game, if a class reaches the "art museum" the class
gets a larger reward (i.e. popcorn and video, etc) If the class doesn't have
a good day they don't get to move their piece.
Since I started this, my worst classes have become my better classes at
cleanup and class participation. Since the game board is attached to the
back of a door, everyone knows what classes/grade levels are doing what. And
they will try to have their piece moved.

(P.S. from Judy - I decided to go ahead and post this to the entire list -
since I had a fun idea from Clark to share - All of you are welcome to use
my web site for your reward days. Clark, if you are reading, I hope you have
had time to update your links to Incredible Art Department and Incredible
Art Resources - thanks)