I would suggest that you stop doing production art and maybe do writing
activities. Art appreciation stuff with slides or overheads. Write a list
of rules or expections for your class and inform them that until you get
better cooperation, there will be no art actually created. There are other
ways to learn about art other than making a picture. If they are misuing you
supplies, simply put them away and do alternative activites.
You might also create a list of what the other, more cooperative classes are
doing as an incentive to get more control.
I don't teach middle school, but do teach fifth and fourth. I had a class
last year that was giving them problems, and after a warning, the next class
no production art was done. We read and worked from our art textbooks. Now
I love our books and so do the kids, but they always expect to be activly
doing something each class and were disappointed to not be doing the same
project as the other classes. Needless to say, they were much better after
I always tell my classes I need their help. If I don't get it, we don't do
the messy stuff.
It does take some time to establish yourself, just be firm and consistant.
reward the students you see doing the "right thing" not with candy, but maybe
with a really cool activity they can do on their own.
Good luck. It's tough having more than one school. The kids always treat you
like a substitute. Like you're not a "real" teacher. This is my first year
full time and I see a big difference in the behavior of the kids. Just hang
in there. Janet