One thing I think is important to remember is that 'no
noise' isn't an end in itself. You have to explain to kids
why intense conversations interfere with concentrating on
artmaking, and they do understand if you are careful not to
link silence with punishment.
My benchmark is that they can talk so long as it doesn't
interfere with the progress or quality of their art. While
I'm going around the room monitoring individuals, I also
keep an eye on the whole class. If I see a conversation
that's gotten so intense that the artmaking has stopped
(hands gesticulating, out of contact with the paper is one
sure fire sign), I call a 'right-brain' exercise, 5 or 10
minutes of silent work.
I put on some quiet rhythm music and watch for a feeling
that they have 'gotten in the zone'. I bring them out of
the total silence gradually, first only necessary talk
that's related to the assignment, etc, In a well drilled
class you can actually control this with your own voice. If
they get all keyed up again I put them back in silent mode
and we do it again.
NB--My artroom is a parti wall away from a math teacher who
doesn't appreciate it if we get too noisy so I'm regularly
doing silent exercises this year. It's helped ME a lot too--
quieter classes are much less stressful.
---- Original message ----
>Date: Sun, 7 Nov 2004 09:25:10 -0700
>From: "Carolyn McDonald" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: RE: Quiet Sign for the ART Room
>To: "ArtsEdNet Talk" <email@example.com>
>Just in time I started reading the quiet sign mails and
last Friday I went
>to school with my letters and instituted the idea. I gave
my 6th, 7th and
>8th graders a written explanation of what the new policy is
and why. I
>explained the policy and how it will work. At the end of
>explanation given to all was a place for students to write
a sentence or 2
>about the policy and why it was needed. Then each student
had a place to
>sign and date, showing his or her understanding and
willingness to abide by
>the policy. Copies were made for the principal and I kept
copies. All of
>the students indicated their understanding and
willingness. A number of
>students wrote about their appreciation of the policy.
>Now we shall see what happens this week!
>Thank you and best wishes to all.
>Skyline Junior High, Peoria, Az.
>From: Heather Leal [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
>Sent: Saturday, November 06, 2004 6:03 PM
>To: ArtsEdNet Talk
>Subject: Re: Quiet Sign for the ART Room
>When I used it, I found myself praying it wouldn't have to
>then there was NO ART. Luckily- it usually wasn't and it
was a good
>But when it was, I would have to do another activity- If
>were misbehaving badly, we wrote essays about behavior-
>happened, how to behave, etc. Sometimes however, I would
>threatening "book work" and vocabulary- like that is
>they see as punishment- but I really don't want to use that
>We have to read the book, and do vocabulary, and write, not
>because it is expected in all our classes due to testing
>also because our kids skills are dreadfully low, many are
ELs and even
>the fluent english are way below grade level. They need it-
>need to see the positive sides of it- new ideas- new
>understanding. I really don't want academic work associated
>punishment and creative art work associated with "fun
time". Not that
>artwork isn't fun- but I want them to think of both parts
of class as
>connected and worthwhile work.
>That said- I have been trying to deal with discipline-
>-loud talking, wasting time, etc. individually- but I have
>rambunctious, loud 7th and 8th grade classes this year, and
I am have
>been thinking about using the Art letters again- used them
>graders before- ....
>I'll be interested in what transpires here-
> Nov 6, 2004, at 4:50 PM, Geoffrey McClain wrote:
>> Could you please tell me again what happens when you
erase the last
>> letter from ART?
>> Thanks --- Sky in NJ