I have found that, especially with upper elementary
students, projects and activities that are
specifically geared toward their interests and skill
levels are what keeps them excited about art.
Motivating disinterested students is always an uphill
struggle, but with consistent discipline strategies,
over time, they will get the message you are serious
and start working. I also find that liberal use of a
sense of humor tends to disarm the hard core types and
will eventually win them over.
Having said all that, here is what I would do:
> clue into the regional culture and develop new or
alter old projects to that culture.
> 4th graders like to work with their hands, building
things, sculpting, claywork, paper mache, etc. are all
prime motivators that get kids excited and engaged.
Drawing and design projects are ok with highly
motivated kids, but if they are not focused on that
type of activity, switch to 3d activities until they
are used to working with you, or at least use 3d as an
incentive to get through a paper activity.
>Physical activity also helps keep kids moving and
focused, so set up work stations at various locations
in the room so kids are not near each other for the
entire art class period and are kept busy at the
workstation getting crayons, brushes, etc.
>Make sure you have contact with each student during
the class period, so you can check progress and let
them know you have certain expectation of behavior and
performance. Simply having them get in line to check
their work serves this purpose, or go around to
> Be crystal clear with your expectations as each
project begins, so there is no ambiguity in their
minds as to the rules or guidlines you expect to be
> If you need specific project ideas, write me at my
e-mail address, and I will be glad to send photos and
lessons your way.
Hope this helps,
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