Sorry this post is coming so late-but we didn't have school this past
Monday & Tuesday.
As a class reward here's what I do:
It's called Surprise Day, and it basically works like this:
I have a chart at the front of my room (it's actually a paint palette,
and each "splotch" of paint represents a teacher's class-the paint
splotches are held on by Velcro)
The goal for the students it to keep their surprise day-they can have
one at the end of each quarter-up to 4 per year, and it is basically
anything I choose. It can be art movie & popcorn day (which is rare),
clay, sidewalk chalk, going outside to draw, or what I really like doing
is having art centers at each table. Different memory games, free
drawing, etch a sketch, etc. I set a timer, and when it "dings", they
move to the next center.
Now, how do they lose surprise day?
It's 3 marbles in the can (I use a coffee can)
If the class is too loud, or being disrespectful, talking while I am,
etc. they receive a marble, which is VERY LOUD when it is dropped into a
can. I do not give warnings about the marble. I just drop it in there.
2 marbles-the kids get really nervous & apply peer pressure, but if
there is a 3rd marble, I take their paint down off the palette, and
instead of surprise day, we do bookwork that day, vocabulary definitions
and such. I know bookwork shouldn't be used as punishment, but it is
VERY effective. If that happens, they never lose surprise day again that
year. I make that day pretty miserable for them, and at the end of the
class I let them know there are 2 ways we can go about learning art. We
can read it in a textbook, which is informative, but not hands on. Or we
can do it the more "fun" way, it's their choice. If I have just one
student who is particularly rowdy, he/she loses surprise day, while the
rest of the class has it. He/she has to do bookwork and watch the rest
of the class have fun.
I also have done silent art---and if the class talks during silent art,
then we put away everything, and put our heads down and have no art. If
that happens, it generally isn't a problem again, in regards to getting
And if there is still a problem, I send a note home, but could also call
parents or do the detention thing.
Discipline can be the most difficult thing, but remember it's ALWAYS
easier to start out strict, and then let up. It's much more difficult to
be easier, and then try to tighten the reigns. The kids are testing
you-seeing how far they can push you. Now I am in elementary school, so
I know that's different from MS, but I use Time out. It's very
effective. 3 strikes & you're out. Strike 1 is a warning, strike 2 TO
for 5 min, strike 3, TO for rest of class and a note home. I should also
say that a student is NOT allowed to participate in art class again
until the note is brought back signed. And if I think it's a forgery, I
check it with documentation in the front office, and call home to talk
to the parent. I let my students know that art is a privilege, and they
make a conscious choice to participate or not.
I have a student teacher right now, and she has struggled with the
discipline in the class, but now she is really "getting it". She was
hesitant to give out strikes or marbles. But as long as you are
consistent with it & fair, the students will truly respect you for it.
She just had a class today who had silent art last week, and they still
weren't silent, so she took art away, and they put their heads down. So
today, they really controlled their voices, and worked, and the class
went much more smoothly. I don't know if these ideas help or not, but
that's my 2 cents worth.
J. H. House Elementary School
2930 Hwy 20 North
Conyers, GA 30012