This is my first post so I hope I do this correctly;
Rowdy Kids - my first year was terrible with three overcrowded 5th grade
classes, and I thought I would never make it through the year so I feel for
Middle School is a tough gig, but I have found that what works best for me
is positive reinforcement.
For my little ones, which you may be able to adapt, I put three strikes on
the board. Just like in baseball, except, they want to keep the three
strikes. If it gets too noisy while I am giving directions or while they
work I take a strike away, but the good news is that I can but it back if
they cooperate. AND, I could add strikes when their behavior is super! I
keep a running talley on the corner of the blackboard so it is a bit of a
competition between classes to reach 100 points first. Once the class
reaches 100 points they earn a free day to work on whatever they choose.
When students finish a project early I have a large cans filled plasticine
clay that each table can work with together, this is usually the favorite
choice. This method was taught to me by a veteran teacher and I find it
I agree with talking with your administration.
Maybe if you talk to the rowdiest student and find out why they act out in
class. Do they find art uninteresting or do they feel they are "not good at
art" and how could you work together to change that for this person.
Compliment them on areas they are strong and that you want to see them
succeed. Talk about how they have strong leadership skills and this could
work in a positive manner for them. Middle schoolers are so concerned with
their peers and fitting in some lessons on that subject may get the most
reluctant student to participate. I have a lesson my rowdy 5th graders
really liked; A self-portrait that was one half human and then morphed into
the animal that best illustrates their personality. On the back they needed
to list 3 adjectives that explained their personality and how that animal
represented it best. As they worked I moved around and talked with the
students individually and I learned a whole lot about them and how they felt
about themselves. From there we moved on to more personal lessons and
eventually I learned to love them. However, I did celebrate when the year
I love the Art sign - large and effective. Noone can miss it if a letter is
removed and I am making one today.