Reflecting on the Fall Quarter…

Well my first quarter of teaching for the 2013-2014 school is nearly complete. Just Halloween and half day on Friday.  There is still much to do before then…grading artwork, taking down displays, posting grades, eating my students Halloween candy..but right now I feel like reflecting…

1. Making my rules/procedures clear at the beginning of the quarter works but needs to revisited periodically
I always go over my rules and procedures during the first few days of every quarter. I have posters with text and images of what my procedures look like in my classroom. My 6th graders even make procedure manuals. I believe it is important to outline what I expect so students know how things work in my classroom. When 6th graders come to me and ask what to do when they are finished with a project or what do at clean up, I tell them to check their manual. My purpose for this is so they will learn to find the answers themselves instead of always coming to me. I want them to become independent learners and I tell them that. They got into the habit of doing this this quarter.
My 7th graders however, were constantly asking me questions they should know the answer to. So how can I help my students remember my procedures?  I think I need to revisit them 5 weeks into the quarter.  I do not want to take away too much time from art making, but this needs to be done to improve the flow of the class and keep my patience intact. I think what I will try is making a slideshow or video with for all of the procedures. That way I can show it real quick, make review what I expect from them and get back to getting messy and making art!

2. Trying new things is fun!
I tried a few new projects with my students this quarter.  I’ve notice in my four years of teaching that it is very easy to just do the same projects over and over again.  Sure it makes for less planning and prep and if the kids like it, why change it? Well I learned this quarter, because it is fun to try new things! I get so many ideas from Pinterest and Twitter and decided this was the year I would mix it up and try a few. Below are images of a new drawing project I taught my 7th and 8th grade 2D students.  I have done the pencil pasta drawing before but added the oil pastel version.  This meant I needed to make each project smaller in order to do both in the same time it takes to do one. I was very pleased with results!

Image                Image

3. I could do more formative assessment
I often review what we learned at the end of class but I do not always find out what they already know when starting a new unit.  This is an important step as students will often come to art class with misconceptions or preconceived ideas that need clearing up.  I came across some a great list of formative assessments from the Art of Ed. Click HERE to see! Plan on trying some of these next quarter

4. I want to try an online/app lesson book
Sometimes I am at home and wish I could think through my week and I do not have my lesson plan binder. This year when I have a problem, I have been trying to think if technology can help me solve that problem.  In this case it definitely can! I am going to try planbook.com. Its free for a month and then its only $12 a year.  There is also an app version.  I will write about what I think about it here in a few weeks!

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