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Re: 35 Student 7th grade Ceramics class!!!!!!!!!! HELP


From: Susan Holland (Susan_Holland_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Nov 23 2001 - 06:54:45 PST

Since the other teacher is there to help with discipline, have him enforce
rules and keep track of who is doing a good job so they can be rewarded. Tell
the kids he will take away their clay if they throw it.
Have a writing assignment ready for clay throwers-- or any other rule breakers.
 They can learn about clay by reading and writing if they aren't mature enough
to work with it. Since you have an extra teacher in your room, maybe you
could divide up the space and have tables set up for the writing assignment and
have the other teacher ready to monitor the kids who have to write. The first
assignment could be to write out the rules, explain which one they are breaking
and why it is an important rule. Then answer how they could avoid breaking the
rule, how they will behave if allowed to resume working with clay and (I think
this is the important one) Would you like to be able to continue your project?

If they complete this assignment to your satisfaction, give them another chance
with the clay. If they blow it again, give them a report assignment- about an
artist, about a style of ceramics, about a process, whatever. When they
complete the report, they can do the rule assignment again if they want another
chance with clay. Now, if you have kids who write that they don't want to
continue the clay project (and you think they have an acceptable reason for
making that choice), they can start out doing these reports. Make they
requirements for the report strenuous enough to stand in for an art project

My other suggestion is to have kids sign up to speak with you one on one, and
then go down the list in order during class. Kids who make the effort to get
to class early and sign up on the list can get your help first. Hopefully
having the extra teacher to help watch out for behavior problems will make it
possible for you to focus on one student at a time for part of your class
period. Maybe you could set yourself a three minute limit and get to each
student at least once a week.

I have a real concern for anyone who has a suggestion!  I've been struggling
over the past quarter with a class I'm teaching--ceramics, 7th grade.  It's an
intro class that I've been doing basics and building technique.  They are now
to a point where they are understanding some process and thinking conceptually
designing shoes.  They seem interested and are enjoying the assignments.

This is the clincher--I have 35 students in the class.  Several, about 5 are on
their own agendas. They all think I'm out to get them, and they are never at
fault.  Two think I am out to get them and they have no self confidence--I
worked with them1st marking period to get them to see they have potential and
the ability to build.  They won't--use any excuse not to complete a project and
fool around quite a bit.  They've got a terrible attitude.  I have now switched
focus from helping them, to disciplining them so I have focus on the kids that
need and want my help. 

Several other students are the same way.  These behavior problems take up most
of my time--throwing clay, being disrespectful, talking while I'm trying to
talk to the whole class, no concern for rules.  I inevitably end up yelling to
get the attention of the class, or stand still quietly and wait, and wait, and
wait.  That doesn't even work. 

I had my students write an evaluation of the class--they had learned, but they
all said I needed to spend more time with each student--hopefully I've given
you an accurate picture of the dynamics of the class--I can't spend more time
with each student.  With clean-up, prep in the beginning, demos, I only have
about 30 min. of actual work time and with 35 kids, that's less than a minute
per student.  I feel defeated at the end of the class. 

Next week a permanent sub will be placed in my room for discipline help.  Any
advice as far as how much to allow him to control and how to approach that
situation?  I'm glad to have him, but not sure how to approach since I'm not
even sure how to approach the problems I'm having in the class.  Any
suggestions on discipline, class management?  Sooooooo frustrated!