> Now what I am looking for is some words of encouragement and suggestions
> on how to handle the older kids. I want them to know that I mean
> business, but yet I donıt want to turn kids off to art. (The students
> werenıt very excited about the subıs lessons. In addition, they had a sub
> most of last year.)
I teach HS, but perhaps this would help you. Freshman boys aren't too
far removed from MS kids; this year's batch aren't too far removed from
3rd graders :P
At the beginning of each semester, I discuss a poster I made that says
YOU ARE A YOUNG ADULT. YOU WILL BE TREATED LIKE ONE AS LONG AS YOU ACT
LIKE ONE. Be respectful; Be respectable; Be responsible; Be courteous.
This is how adults (should) act, even when no one is looking. It covers
'most any situation, from getting/putting away supplies to name calling.
Students who fail to exhibit any of the above behaviors gradually have
their privileges revoked, so that they are in a rather tightly controlled
environment with no pass privileges, no access to good tools, and--the
ultimate--name-callers must come in after school to watch "Bambi" (esp.
the part where Thumper says, "If you can't say something nice, don't say
anything at all.")
Hope this helps. Good luck.