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Re:[teacherartexchange] new teacher needs help


From: Jerry Vilenski (jvilenski_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Aug 07 2010 - 06:48:02 PDT

I agree that most art education literature does not deal effectively with the
practical considerations of running an art room. I think I may have to write a
book! Here's some ideas from a veteran, and I hope others chime in here:
 First, take an inventory of the materials that are currently in the room and
figure out if you will use them--if not, weed through them and make yourself
some room for your stuff. Next, put together a wish list of materials you want
for your classes and begin a shopping list by going through a few art catalogs
page by page. When you are done this, compare your wish list totals to your
budget totals and start eliminating things you can live without and leaving
things you must have until you come close to your budget limits. Anything over
budget you might be able to negotiate.
If you are in a new art room, assess the space you have and decide how you want
seating. I used lunch room tables in all my art rooms over the years, mainly
because chairs are noisy, don't fit little students well, and limit how many
kids can sit at one table. The janitors loved them because they could be folded
up and rolled out of the way for sweeping and cleaning. You can also roll paper
along the entire length of the table for covering in a couple of minutes. Some
teachers prefer tables with chairs--they also have advantages at times.
 Storing artwork is always problematic, so I solved the problem by having a
cabinet with drawers, one for each day of the week (we had rotating schedules),
and kept that days flat work in those drawers, clamped together with large
clips, or with an envelope for each class. That gave me the work at my
fingertips without a lot of searching. 3D work is more complicated, but
eventually you will arrive at a way to place a name on each piece while drying
or on display.
 For your first year, I would suggest you don't take most of the literature you
read too seriously--you need to establish a routine, learn kid's names, assess
their skill levels and develop a plan of attack to actually teach them something
before you begin mapping out a curriculum. I would approach it very simply in
your first year--basic skills like drawing and painting in the beginning, then
once they are comfortable with your routines and able to follow directions, move
into more complex art experiences. Use your state guidelines if you must, but
be mindful that you must tailor your lessons to your school population, not just
what the state expects.
 Last thought: develop and use a good sense of humor--it will serve you well in
classroom management and let your students know that you enjoy what you are
doing, and that will make them more enthusiastic about working for you. Relax
and enjoy!



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