1. The student that doesn't like the project or your class and wants
to play around or sit there stubbornly instead
2. Students that finish early and have no desire to make their project better
3. How to move a problem student around without disturbing the other
nice groups of students that are working hard. If all your seats are
filled up and you need to move a student that means you have to switch
them with another student but I don't want to punish that other person
4. Maintaining control of larger classes
5. Trying to get students to get along with others
6. Get students to do/turn in assignments (some students, not all)
7. Need quickie responses with assessment of work
8. Better prepared for art show
9. Collect fee money
10. Disrespectful students
11. Overcrowded classrooms
12. Pacing of lessons/time frames
13. Sleeping students
14. Apathetic students
15. Teaching classes that I have no experience with
16. Completing student work
17. Peer teacher negativity
Responses- some are just advice in general, some are specific to challenges
Museum websites like the 'Learning at the Whitney' is a great place to
start for relevant and meaningful lesson ideas. They are quite complex
and long, but just reading through some of their topics and image
choices for discussion will give you great ideas. Their topics have
always been interesting to the students. In my experiences this year,
I found that putting my own twist on things to suit their needs and
following my instinct has been best way to go.
Also, I actually ask the students if they liked the project and
inquire as to exactly why or why it appealed to them. It's impossible
to make everyone happy, but they appreciate my caring enough to ask,
and they enjoy knowing that their input is important to making our art
department better than ever next year.
Jen- arts educators chat
1. The student that doesn't like the project or your class and wants
to play around or sit there stubbornly instead.
I try to look on this with an optimist eye. I had one student and
his issue turned out to be perfectionism, not that he didn't like art
or my projects, he just put too much pressure on himself. I set him
apart and allowed him to draw without me grading it. I graded
assignments but not his class work. How do I know he completed it?
Because he was working on something over there in his chair and not
distributing anyone or making a fuss. Most preferable. Another
student felt vulnerable when he completed assignments. The ones he did
complete were awesome but spoke volumes about his home life and were
kind of dark, though not inappropriate. I had him be the helper, clean
up things, move things, help distribute things and all his assignments
were homework which I viewed with him before or after class. It worked
out great but it was like finding the golden
ticket. He was rude, despondent, and easily agitated before I began
giving him permission to be the class aide and do work at home. When
he didn't complete assignments, he had to work in class.
I have had the good fortune of not having this problem too often.
You can't fix stubborn though, but the more they feel involved in the
class the easier it is to motivate them. Is there anyway to have a
syllabus and let them choose between two or three projects? Have a
great project that everyone wants to do- comic art, manga, podcast
art show- and make it dependent on doing the first two or three
> 6. Get students to do/turn in assignments (some students, not all)
I give out tickets and they trade the tickets in for trinkets or small items
> 9. Collect fee money
I have had better luck getting fees at the beginning of the year than
any other time, it's like people want to start off the year on a good
> 14. Apathetic students
Try varying what the art projects are- make some happenings,
sculpture, mixed media. One of my mantras is everyone is good at
some art form. Many people aren't good at painting or drawing, but
some people rock at collage, mixed media, performance art, etc.
Doing lots of very difference things can get them to try new things
they don't think they are bad at yet.
- Brandy art education chat
1. I would first talk to the student to see if there was a
problem/issue with the project. If it is an ongoing problem then it
is insubordination and would warrant calling the parents and/or an
2. I would not accept it as a completed project and I would have
them complete a self-evaluation using the rubric for the project and
then discuss it with them and how they can improve it. I also have
lots of things for them to do if they finish early, my classroom
always needs a good cleaning.
3. I would find an extra desk and seat them by themselves.
4. I have had classes of 35, keep them actively engaged with
interesting projects-keep things moving.
5. Seating charts and maintaining a culture of respect in the
6. Trying to connect the assignment with their interests-giving them
small successes in the classroom-extra attention-a phone call home
7. Not sure what you mean by quickie responses?
9. Never had to collect money
10. Consequences for their behavior and also not taking things
12. Pacing comes with experience, I still can't pace a project I have
never done, either I do it really quickly or I take a lot longer than
the students. Ask the advice of experienced teachers would have done
13. If they're a problem student I let them sleep (I know, wrong
14. This was a big problem where I used to teach. Get to know the
students so they want to work for you, keep things interesting, let
them explore their interests, show how what you do is meaningful.
15. Don't be afraid to say that you don't know. I taught a crafts
class and we did a number of processes that I had never tried (batik,
stained glass). I was honest and said I had never done it before and
their task was to help me figure out the best way to do it.
17. Ah, the "it's just art" statement from coworkers. Be an art
advocate-let them know the value of art. Ask for their advice/input
for interdisciplinary units that they are doing in their classroom
that you can do an art project for. Do favors for them when they
Hope some of this is useful.
Susan in Missouri- art education chat
My five rules spelled out RADIO and with alignment with
them, we had administrative permission to play soft music while the
students worked. These five rules were posted large enough to be seen
from all over the room. They went something like this:
R-Respect others, yourself, and the teacher by listening while others
speak and by being a good citizen at all times ( helpful,
A-Always bring what you need to class, projects, sketchbooks, pencil
and pen-and any other special requests.
D-Do arrive on time punctual, productive and prepared to work from bell to bell
I-It won't always be comfortable, when learning new things in order
for growth to happen, allow yourself to learn and accept that you are
in a safe place
O-Own the responsibility of your actions-It is your responsibility to
abide by all school rules with regards to dress code, interact with a
For many years my students broke into groups and came up with the five
rules, you just communicate what you need then clearly instruct the
students of your expectations. You can also have a letter to the
parents with a copy of the rules sent home for a signature, also have
students sign it. Occasionally you may have to remind them of the
rules. In addition, I used to "fish bowl" with my students, by placing
the chairs in a circle for such discussions or to introduce concerts,
brainstorm, etc. It got to where students would come in asking if we
were "fish bowling." Sometimes the circle was to review an infraction
that had taken place. My rules also had the consequences and rewards.
listed with a partnership with your students, with rules in place (
invisible)and being followed, wonderful opportunities can happen.
Some include students being able to work in groups, self-directed
projects, quality works that win scholarships and change lives by
allowing college attendance. Consequences might include a private
conference with the teacher, a parent teacher conference, removal
from class, principal conference, etc.
- Joan M. art education chat
> 8. Better prepared for art show
1. Save everything that can be reused year to year.
2. Mat/mount/frame as you go.
3. If you need permission slips to display or use students' names get
them on the first day of school while parents are in the "sign but not
really reading" mode. I have them sign class policy, artsonia and art
release forms all in one and keep them on file.
4. Label and store art for show as you go - keep it separate from
portfolio or other work you are saving.
5. Create tags for labeling as you go and store with work.
6. Order supplies for display/mounting early enough in year that you
7. Assembly line. Older kids can help prepare for the show
8. In my first district (middle school age) work went up for a week
and culminated in a one-night event with parents coming to see the
spring concert. While it was up for a week, I trained student docents
who were then able to lead parent tours. Instead of being a back drop
to music, we were the main attraction. There were also scavenger hunts
with (donated) prizes and activity stations throughout for younger
siblings. Also had more work scanned and playing as a screen saver on
the computer in the lobby. HINT use a monitor and unplug keyboard and
9. Never let a student take home something you need for the show just
to "show mom and dad real quick" because those pieces NEVER come back.
I have resorted to scanning and emailing to avoid not having the work.
10. Measure the space to be used early in the year. Calculate the
square feet and figure out how much art you need to fill the space
and then work backward.
Melissa- arts educators chat
I have the perfect answer to all of your questions--
except maybe # 9. Tell these teachers in training to
learn about, observe and try TAB-Teaching for artistic
behavior. I, too, had all those problems they
mention, until 2 years ago when I began teaching using
the TAB philosophy. It has changed my world and that
of my elem. students.
There is a yahoo group for TAB teachers. join and be
There is also a website with info
With fee money, my school will treat lack of payment like any other
debt owed to the school. Report cards are held, as well as diplomas
or any transcripts, etc. You can't even buy a prom ticket if you owe
the school money, although by that point, it's kind of too late. Of
course, mine is a private school -- don't know if you can even do that
in public school.
Are you allowed to give points for turning in the fees? My high
school art teacher considered it a graded assignment, and that helped
to a point.
Another thing I do that seems to help is that I have students provide
their own consumable products -- things I have to buy often that are
used up (and often misused) by students. At the beginning of each
term, my middle school students are to bring a set of markers, colored
pencils, crayons, glue sticks, and #2 pencils in a gallon sized
ziplock bag. I have some "crap" supplies that are left over at the
end of the term for students who fail to bring their supplies, and
those usually get used up within the first week or so. After that,
students who have not brought their supplies are required to do
alternative assignments (usually research papers) until they bring
supplies. I know I would totally not get by with this in public
school, but maybe there's a way to do something similar. High
Schoolers also have to purchase their own paintbrushes, which means
that now they take care of them or they won't have them to use. :)
Rebecca- getty teacher art exchange
As a beginning elementary art teacher in a large (900+) school and the
only elementary art teacher in the town I was both overwhelmed and
without help! Almost all of those issues could have been found on my
list, had I made one. I did get a mentor who was teaching part time,
but was actually a practicing painter (and in later years head of
painting at Rhode Island School of Design) He and I came up with
another way of "doing" art education--not as a system at the time, but
piecemeal, to address exactly the issues on your list.
Over 35 years the pedagogy evolved and is currently successful in
pre-K through high school classrooms in over 30 states. Teaching for
Artistic Behavior helps teachers to be organizers of time, space,
materials, and inspiration so that students can do the real work of
the artist, each and every week. The job of the artist is to have an
idea and find the best material to express it; or to find a material
that leads to an idea. Every class is given brief focused
demonstrations of materials, techniques, concepts or art appreciation.
After that students can choose to explore that or to work in
organized studio centers (which have been introduced previously in a
similar five minute standup)
This pedagogy is currently successful in a wide variety of settings,
suburban, urban, at-risk, gifted & talented, special needs. Veteran
teachers report the end of their burn out. Teachers report that some
of their most difficult students are their best artists.
We have a large internet presence.
Please encourage your students to visit
teachingforartisticbehavior.org as a starting point.
This method of teaching is not for everyone, but it has made wonderful
changes for some.
massachusetts TAB- getty teacher art exchange
Students who don't want to work can be motivated by giving them
leadership roles such as monitoring supplies, helping others.
Do you play soft music? No rap or hip-hop of course. Get good
Classical CDs and write the name of the composer on the board.
What do you mean negative teachers?Find out the source of their
negativity and if possible plan lessons that they can advise you
Who has taught art in the past? Are there other art specialists. Are
you networked to other art teachers for monthly after school supper
Is art respected as a class or a dumping ground for students who
have academic difficulty or behavior problems?
Have you asked guidance office for help and advice? Sleep and apathy
can be symptoms of other problems at home or school.
Are there consequences in your school for some of what you describe of behavior?
Ask your students to list their favorite art projects from the past.
Ask them what they are good at and how they could convince someone to
try something new (could be a sport, dance, music instrument).
How hard was it to learn that thing? Did they practice a lot? Make
connection to learning visual skills.
Games: Project a picture for 30 seconds. It should have a lot of
detail. Switch off and give them a minute to name everything in the
picture including what they saw first (focal point)? Predominant
color scheme?maybe two other questions. Best answer described when you
put the picture up again. Students could work in teams. Best team gets
a blue ribbon on a chart you devise.
Any individual who comes to the next class with info on the artist
or artwork gets an individual blue ribbon.
These can be paper, but at the end of the month or semester you can
get real blue ribbons for those who have the most, red for second
place yellow for third and white for runner up.
Read to them. Lower lights, let them put their heads down and read
appropriate level artist stories while you project images of his
her works. Stories should be anecdotal and five minutes long, no
more. Not born died, but the crisis points in their life. Human
interest. Matisse and his set of watercolors given by his mother
as he was convalescing from surgery and how it changed his career!
How Berthe Morisot joined the boy's club - again thanks to a
mother! How Picasso painted Guernica! You have to make their lives
real and exciting. Don't only tell the stories, as the students to
identify the issue the stories are addressing. Can they think of
stories in their own lives where they met a crisis and how did they
Make a mural. Roll a big sheet of Kraft paper out along one wall,
project pictures and have students outline with Sharpies. Find
images they like from pop culture. Ask them to figure out what
their culture is. Ask them to look at images from popular culture
from the 50s, or another era. Ask them if they can describe the
values of the culture based on these images. Work with social
studies teachers on this.
Mural can be painted
Can they tell a story with stick figures? Only five images to tell a
whole story. Figures must look animated. Minimal objects in picture
to tell what it is about.
How to dress a stick figure. How to turn a stick figure into a whole
figure. Kids want to learn how to draw real things.
Do you have permission to hang things from the ceiling? Kraft paper
can be cut out, stapled and stuffed with newspaper, then colored so
you can make a ceiling zoo, under water scene, jungle birds and trees,
people swimming or playing a sport.
Do you have a hallway gallery? Ask students to decide what to
exhibit. What makes these things "good?"
What do they see in their world? What do they like to look at?
Read them the book "To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street." An
old Dr. Seuss. You then have them rewrite the book with
illustrations about what kids would see today.
Be patient with yourself. If you can document a really constantly
disruptive student do go to the guidance office with information
about the student. Perhaps the counselors know the student and have
some suggestions. Perhaps involve the parents. Concern for the
student's well being rather than anger is best approach. No child is
misbehaving just to be oppositional. Something is going on that should
be addressed. Gaining mastery over emotions is an important growth
skill. Your real concern can be communicated.