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Re: start the year

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From: Andrea Dunmire (artshui_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Jun 16 2001 - 13:09:00 PDT


Susan wrote:

it's going to be elementary. How much time do
you spend teaching classroom procedures at the beginning of the year? Do
you get out the art supplies the first day? the first week? I need to gain
from your experience.

Hi Susan,

I've been doing this elementary thing for 25 years and I've found that the
best thing to so to begin the year is to use the first class to go over
class rules, expectations (theirs and mine), consequences for actions
chosen, basic procedures, and a loose rundown on highlights of the
curriculum for each particular grade level. We typically do no creating on
the first day, although this hasn't always held true either.
I have this dramatic thing worked out where I present the rules as if for
the first time, asking lots of questions of the kids and leading them into
discussing naturally occurring consequences. (I use reality therapy
techniques as I've mentioned to this list before). I go over each rule,
making a big deal out of it, asking students to tell me why I have that
rule, why it is a reasonable, good rule, and then what happens if they
choose to follow it and what happens if they choose to break it. I have had
the same 4 rules for many years so all returning students know them WELL.
I finish that class by sending home with them a letter to parents that
explains that we took today to go over the rules, listing what they are
along with the consequences and including a tear strip at the bottom asking
them to sign and return it with their child to verify that they have
discussed them with them.

This doesn't stop all the problems, but it sure helps to support me when I
do encounter one.

The next week, I like to ease them in gently by starting with a drawing
project that requires the use of imagination using simple materials like
pencils, crayons, and color pencils. I have done many over the years. This
seems to help the kids know that this is a nonthreatening environment and
that any contribution that they make will be welcome. After this is done,
we get into the formal curriculum.

Hope this helps,

Andrea
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