Having just finished my first two days back with elementary students I
understand your concerns!! I've been teaching at the same school for 18
years and I'm still working out the first days!! And its like the movie
Groundhog Day. You keep having the "first day" over and over until you
see everyone in the school. I teach kdg -5th. I make a little check list
so I know which classes got which info and how much accomplished the
I make a seating chart which is a diagram of the tables and write in
their names-then I can use it while I'm calling on them until all their
names. (you really need it for kdg because usually you can't even
understand them when they tell you and most of them can't write their
name legibly-luckily the aide stays with me)I staple the seating charts
together in the order I see the classes for each day. So I have a Mon.
seating chart, Tues etc...
I go over the rules and consequences which are posted on the wall. I go
over their reward system. (A big paper crayon box, made out of a manila
envelope with art rewards written on it) When the class leaves, if they
have had a good day, cleaned up on time,etc.. one student takes a paper
crayon (laminated strip of construction paper about 2X12 with the end
cut in a triangle)The go in order r,y,b,g,o,p,b,w,br and when a class
has earned 9 crayons they get to have a free choice art day. I don't do
this with kdg just the other grades.
I introduce the focus artists for the year -their names hang on a sign
above the tables. Usually I choose artists that go with our school wide
theme for the year. This year our theme is something like spotlight on
students learning and the theme is Hollywood or movies. So I'm doing
star artists from South Carolina. I put their name up in lights outside
my room ( literally)To make this go quickly, I make a power point with
photos or self-portraits of the artists and 6-12 examples of their art
and some quick facts. I play this through my big screen TV and
introduce them while it plays-the kids that sit at the artists table
get to stand when they see their artist.
Then they do their first day drawing- fold a copy size paper in 4ths
and draw a person, animal, tree and building. They date it and write
their class code. I keep a file box for each grade with a folder for
each student in it. These first day drawings go in the box and we save
them until their 5th grade graduation when they get the folders. I
stress while they are drawing how they should be getting better, more
details, horizon line etc.. especially for the older ones. If they
finish early I have word search with the table artists names and words
about their art.
For kdg. I intro myself and the art room , ask them what they think
they will do and then make a big deal of showing them stuff. Like if a
kid says maybe we'll paint in here. I say, yes, look at all the
brushes, and I have big bottles of paint, little bottles, etc.. If they
say, cut I say , yes I have regular scissors and crazy scissors (give a
little demo) Just to show them and get them excited. Then I have a
paper ready that I wrote a little letter for their parents ....Today we
went to art. We met Mrs. H and saw lots of things in the art room that
we will use. We learned where we will sit.Here is what Mrs. H looks
like. Then I have a big frame on the page . I pose and they draw with
me with pencil. It doesn't take them long and I have a book ready to
read on the floor while the aide goes and copies the page. We send it
home that day and I keep the copy to go in their folder. They do this
instead of the 4 part drawing. Always have some easy art books on hand
to share if you finish early. They work at such a wide range that you
will have very quick finishers and ones that will take all of the
class time . I like to read to the early finishers or hold up their
work and let them stand with it and share with the others.
I use sketchbooks with 3-5th graders which they make with prong pocket
folders (5 cents most places) I but enough for all with my PTO money.
They put in 25 sheets of copy paper and decorate their covers with
markers. We'll do that next week and maybe do the pretzel drawing
I'll start an art book with kdg next week that takes 6 weeks to finish.
Sorry this was so long, hope it helps.
Jeryl in SC