I always go over (and over) class expectations, this year we are doing
a school wide character ed. program which I am co-chairing...and that
will be a strong part of my classroom expectations. The kids are so
jazzed being there they tolerate the expectations talk. I also share
some of my work with them, let them ask some questions, ask them some,
and then get right to it with a visual problem for them to solve. I
always give lots of positive reinforcement for behavior. I gather them
all up around me on the floor when they first come in for every class
all year long, so they are used to being talked to in an intimate and
friendly atmosphere...also, they can see, touch and discuss images
that much better up close and personal.
Last year I had all my 2nd through 5th grade students create
portfolio (11 X 14 ) envelopes the first week. However, it was such a
management nightmare in my room due to lack of storage space that I
won't repeat it again...I'm toying with just 5th graders doing it to
prepare a "middle-school entry" portfolio.
I love the idea of creating an "art book" for early finishers, but I
may go for little diary size ones instead.
My room is set up with an ART TREASURE Chest,which is a big box full
of art games and childrens art books and puzzles. I use that for early
finishers...saves on paper as well. (although I do put out print shop
leftover paper "free draw" with the box but always in connection with
"solving a problem" I give them)
I have an "Philosophers Door" where students can write responses about
aesthetics questions I pose each week. They write their response
whenever they want to after the class has officially begun work, and
they always get a sticker or hand stamp for their great thinking!
I have a very small room (dinky) but I count my blessings remembering
servicing 1100 el. kids on a cart. I use every available space for
display of reproductions or original works, and the entire school
entrance hallway I had converted to bulletin board display space for
student exhibitions year round.
I believe the first day should set the tone for the year, and should
be a WONDERFUL experience for the kids and for you! So enjoy it!