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How to handle the "talkative" class - high school


From: Judy Decker (jdecker_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Aug 17 2003 - 14:58:48 PDT

Here is a post from Lillis of Art Education list (the rest is from me):

I am a high school art teacher. One of my primary classroom management
tips is this: Every day I give a 'daily grade' to students based on
their effort. If a students works quietly and diligently on their
art projects then they get a 100%. This is not to say they can't
talk, but if it is excessive or disruptive so as to interfere with
their own/or other students progress then I deduct points. Also, if
they fail to clean up their work area and tools then I deduct points.
This 'daily' grade is a significant part of their grade in art (50%)
It has worked well for me for several years. It controls noisy
classes and helps keep art from becoming a 'goof off' time. It's a
good comeback when kids tell their parents "I got a bad grade in art
because I can't draw, or the teacher doesn't like my work..etc."


Lillis gets an A+ is my reply to her:

I wish all teachers could grade participation/effort. So many are not
to! That is outrageous. Not all kids can be "good" in art at making the
art - but they can all certainly be good at effort and participation (and
behavior!). We ruin kids when we grade them on their ability to make art.
Not all kids have the talent - but ALL can create when given the right
environment. If we don't have a good working environment - then it is very
hard for even the best to create. I am sharing your post - maybe it will
influence someone out there. It is good to hear that your school permits the
art grade to be such a high percentage participation. Even I couldn't do
that (but I sure tried - smile/wink).

From Judy (use right brain/left brain research - I don't have the links on

With my 7th and 8th graders, since I introduced right brain left brain to
them....there were days when I would just tell them I needed to "use my
whole brain". They all knew I am the type of person who needs it quiet to
really create (a lot of my students were the same way). I can not talk and
create/draw at the same time (or at least can not do it well -- and it was
always obvious they couldn't really do it either - ha-ha). I'd say stuff
like "You have my right brain so fuddled up that even my left brain stopped
working too- time to get quiet." Fun things worked to quiet them down. No
gimmicks were needed with 7th and 8th grade. Paying the quiet ones always
worked to quiet down the whole class too (Mona Bucks). I don't think my
"museum" gig would have worked as well since more and more teachers had
started using the Internet with their students - no longer a "novelty" for
them. If I were to do the Mona Bucks today - I would have them buy art -
laminate post card size prints and such saved from magazines - I had more
than enough - I just never thought of doing that (Great idea Sandy Bacon!).
Makes perfect sense - have them BUY art - choose art they admire. I often
"gifted" students post card size prints that I had. You might still need
something to hook them that is bigger at the end of the trimester/grading
period. I rewarded my kids with good pizza (from a place they all liked) or
gel pens (gave them a choice) - as the top prize.

All kids can be GOOD in art. Strive for a different kind of
"excellence"....and more and more will learn to appreciate art. I wish all
of you could make behavior part of your grade. It just isn't fair to the
kids who are behaving to have to put up with the you-know-whats. Bad
behavior has a negative effect on everyone else's grade (usually - or at
least the kid can't get his work done - My son earned the "Artist of the
Year" in 7th grade - but only finished one project that year - I only saw
one project. The rest of the class were "yea-hoos" in art - that teacher
was having a "bad year". The project he wanted to finish most was his clay
project - but the kiln broke and she reclaimed the clay).

Judy Decker - Ohio
Incredible Art Department