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Re:[teacherartexchange] 1st day seating & multiple project choices for HS


From: Sidnie Miller (SMILLER_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Aug 04 2009 - 11:48:42 PDT

I know many teachers that have assigned seating--as long as you do whatever you
plan to do at the beginning of the year and are consistent I think it will work. Trying to
change midstream is a huge problem. I usually let kids sit wherever and talk if they
want. I do give a participation grade every day---it gives them 2 points/day if they
come in, do their work and clean up. It's a small number, but then I deal in small
numbers (25 pts. for an assignment). It ends up being about 1/3 or 1/2 of their grade
so after a while they get the idea. Some pretend to work, but since they never have
a finished project it doesn't work. In many art programs the classes are filled with
people who don't really want to do any work and don't care about their grades. I
decided that it doesn't mean that I can't like them anyway, but I will definitely give
them the F they earn. We always have a few "real" artists who love the class and
the challenge and do great things. I used to be really upset because I only had 5-10
really competent artists--now I think, well, how many off the chart math students
are there??

I imply that studio art means your first art course?? I would definitely not give
them free range of assignments, especially if their background is poor.
  Make them learn fundamental stuff--color theory,
elements and principles, look at art history, technique. You an always make assignments
that are fun. Students with no skills can't usually do great work and mostly waste
good materials. Really encourage anyone or any assignment that is well done, and
encourage them to take higher level courses where they will have freedom.

>>> <> 8/4/2009 5:31 AM >>>
I teach studio art in a high school with a student population that comes
from middle school art thinking they don't have to produce. They view art as
play time or do nothing time. They have no art instruction in elementary
school. It's a challenge setting up structure while having students who
might be 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th graders in the same class and who might be
serious about art or who hate art and are just there for the state
requirement. I'm saying that there are multiple maturity levels, multiple abilities,
and varied behavior problems.

As the new school year approaches I've thought of two ways I can possibly
improve my classroom. I'd appreciate your opinions.

1. I have always let the students sit where they want and moved seats only
when I felt their choices didn't work. I could seat them going down the
alphabet so there are place cards the first day. Another teacher does this.
Any feedback or ideas?

2. Last year in Studio Art I asked the students at the end of the year if
they had any suggestions for next year. They suggested giving more than one
choice of projects. I'm not sure about this. It's difficult enough
explaining one project with short periods. What is your experience?

The other day I came across a show on cable which I can't remember the
name or channel that followed several high school teachers. I've been
following the questions on discipline in the classroom that some of you have been
writing in about. This show followed a new teacher who struggled with
discipline, a female gym teacher who was viewed as too aggressive by her peers,
and a music teacher who became an assistant principle but missed teaching
the "good" students instead of the problem kids she was dealing with all day.
It showed that every school has the same problems. I liked what the new
teacher said when he was most likely going to leave teaching after one year.
He said...some people have a gift for teaching and some people don't. I
think this is true. Those who have a gift don't seem to struggle but most of
the other teachers do struggle with something. It might be with discipline.
It might be with speaking to parents. It might be with getting along with
peers and administration. Good luck to you all. Have fun teaching.

I'd appreciate feedback on my 2 questions. Looking to improve.

Kind thanks in advance and will thank you again later.

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