Arizona starts their school year earlier than most. We just finished our first week back that started on Wed. The first class meeting with students is usually taken up with going over the Art room discipline plan. The Art room rules, the positive rewards and consequences are based on Harry Wong's book, The First Days of School. My Partner In Crime at HandsHeadnHeart wrote a post on a great, recent presentation by Harry Wong sponsored by our school district.
Today I'm focusing on how I've organized my room to optimize classroom management and discipline. I'm visual and I have a tendency to live among piles. My goal is to have as many visual cues as possible.
First things first, how to get 20-34 students into my room and have them find their seat in an orderly manner.
There are nine tables in my room seating 4 students each. I've a signed a color to each table with a crayon in that color hanging over head. (Nice use of those dollar store, piggy bank, crayons except that I had to spray paint a few to have the right colors).
Each table has an uppercase A, B, C, D painted with their assigned color on each corner. (I stress uppercase letters because the lower case b and d caused confusion in the past. Live and learn). While I'm learning student's names I can call on the A's to do one task, the B's another without constantly having to refer to a seating chart. The colors and the lines painted on the tables are also used as tools to call tables to get materials or line up. Art concepts like primary, secondary, warm, cool colors can be used to emphasize a lesson.
I made a set of cards for each table and laminated them so they can be used year after year. While the class is lined up outside the room, I go over the procedure for the cards and matching them to a seat at each table. As the students walk up to the art room door, I hand them each a card alternating between boys and girls. My goal is to have a balance of boys and girls at each table. A few cards are placed in the bottom of the stack if I see students who need to be kept separate from each other.
Our class lists change a lot from the 1st to the second week of school due to no shows and new students registered. I follow the same procedure with the cards at the second class meeting. While the students work on an assignment, I go around and write their names on my seating chart. The seating chart reads like a map of the room. Attendance and grades are kept here. The lines 1-18 are used to write in the date and the lesson worked on.
I use folders for the students to put their 2-D work in. One color matching folder per table with the teachers' name and room number at the top is used by all students at that table. The first set of laminated folders I made lasted my first 15 years of teaching. I recently made new sets adding a copy of the Art room rules and the procedure for writing their names on their papers.
I've gone so far as to spray paint baking tins for crayons and assigned them to each table. Same for pencils. When something is found or missing, it's easier to trace it back to one table rather than inquiring at nine. Assigning items limits choices and therefore, possible discussion, saving time.
There's nothing like using our time for getting messy and getting down to creating masterpieces!
I also use color coding to make organizing easier for me. I'll share that in Part 2.