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Re: [teacherartexchange] elementary art books


From: Mikel Lee (mikellee31_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Mar 11 2006 - 14:17:02 PST

I too switched from being a high school teacher to
being an elementary art teacher. It is QUITE a switch.
I used to teach about 140 kids. Now I have 465! I also
only get to see my classes every 5 days....which means
only about 45 times a year. Another big change is that
ALL of the kids come to art. Not the ones who chose
the elective or the 20 or 30 the counselor "stuck" in, that changes everything.

Plan on having lots of fun. Don't plan of jamming art
down their throat. Plan on exposing them to art making
and process without worrying about winning the city
show. Plan on being a celebrity at your school and the
local Walmart, because when little kids see you in
public they have no shame about running, screaming,
jumping up and down and yelling there's my art
teacher!!!! You really have to be very flexible and
easy going about the whole thing. Allow yourself to
learn about being an art teacher to little kids for
the first year without competing for teacher of the

Also, get your room ready for kids that are "done."
That is a big challenge- making sure there is always
something for them to do. They love creating things
and they are supply devouring monsters if you don't
set clear limit- 1st graders try to walk off with
whole packs of paper if you don't watch them!

You have to explain everything...don't expect them to
be able to deduce your meaning. Don't worry that you
are going to make them feel dumb. I think that the
kids can do the same things as older kids it just has
to be broken down into smaller steps- like you can't
have a demo day where you show a 30 minute process and
expect them to stay with you or even care what you are
saying after 5 minutes. Show them how to cut with the
scissors, how to use glue, how to hold their pencil-
you will be surprised what they don't get to do in the
regular classroom- at my school the first and second
graders aren't allowed to even sharpen their
pencils!! The teacher does it for them in the morning
and then that has to last all day and the other grades
have to sharpen once a day and that's it!! When they
got to my room and there were three electric pencil
sharpeners I couldn't figure out why all they wanted
to do was stand there and sharpen their pencil all
day- it was a once a week luxury!! They also do not
get sarcasm AT ALL- if you are sarcastic at all in
your teaching- just get rid of that bad habit right

My biggest problem teaching elementary is and was
getting the kids to stop working when class is over. I
have a bell that I ring to signal the clean up
race...each team/table has to clean up their own area
and the first ones done and in their seats ready to
leave get Mona first it turned into roller
derby, but with practice they got it down.

Anyways, I could go on and on, I will spare you- if
you have any questions I will be very happy to help. -
Mikel in OK

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