On Sat, 15 Mar 1997, David Zimmerman wrote:
> Carolyn, fellow cart art teacher--
> First off, I am not David, he is my brother-in-law and owner of the e-mail
> address. I am Deb Rosenbaum.
> Sounds like your school is even worse than mine. The problem you asked for
> help with, "excessive noise," is also the raw nerve of my days. I teach
> only 4th - 6th graders as I am on an independent contract with two public
> schools. Since this is my first time in public school after 7 years at a
> Catholic High School, I was not prepared for the disorganization and chaos.
> Kids come in and out of the art class constantly from special reading
> classes or math, or clubs or whatever. I have to stop and give out the
> instructions again when the rest of the room is in high holler.
> I have found two things which help a bit. First I sent a memo to all the
> teachers asking them to please stay in the classroom while I am there and
> to assist with discipline. This helped because many of them would leave
> for the lounge when they saw me coming or else they would sit at their
> computers completely oblivious to the room while I was teaching. I told
> them I especially needed help during clean up at the end of the period. I
> tried to word the memo in a very positive way, commenting on the great art
> work the kids were doing and thanking them for all their help BEFORE I
> asked them to stay in the room.
> I also told began suspending students from art for the following week. If
> I have to speak to an individual student more than two times, they must do
> classwork durng art the following week. I informed the teachers of this
> policy and supply them with names so they can prepare work for those
> students and supervise them. This works well, most kids do not want to
> lose art. It will probably take one or two examples to be made before they
> believe you mean business. Be firm and don't relent. The first two boys
> that lost art after I initiated this policy had finished their projects and
> were wrestling on the floor. It made the rest of the class, sit up and
> take notice. They worked quietly after that.
> I have, on occasion taken a whistle into class (the metal, referee type)
> which I'll blow as loudly as I can when it gets too loud. This gets their
> attention quickly without my having to yell. Some teachers turn off the
> lights as a sign that the kids are to stop whatever they're doing and put
> their heads down until order is restored. If this is done more than twice,
> you should pack up your cart and leave.
> Basically I have had to accept a few things myself. One is that I will not
> use my energy to get and keep kids quiet any more--I find myself drained
> and irritable when I get home. Secondly, I am working on tolerating the
> noise level a bit more myself. Kids love art and get excited by it.
> Sometimes they work together on projects and are throwing ideas around and
> play behavior kicks in.
> Kids will come in and out and there will be noises in the halls. I am
> trying to remember that as long as they are actively working on task, I am
> doing my job.
> I hope this helps a bit. My students did great things with cardboard
> sculpture this week. I gave them some basic instructions in forming
> shapes and attaching pieces and then gave them the freedom to make what
> ever they wanted as long as it was 3-D. One group of boys made some
> fantastic airplanes and then constructed a whole airport for them with a
> control tower. (They will paper mache these next week.) It was noisey and
> wild with carboard flying everywhere, but the kids were doing super work
> and everyone was on task. I find the more I let go, the better their work
> Any other suggesdtions out there for noise control?
> A pat on the back is only a few centimeters from a kick in the butt.