Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Art Room Theme.....A Day With No Crayons

Crayon Poem found on The Hue Studio Blog
Every year, I start the same battle in my head in thinking about a theme for the year.  It's my quirky way of managing any behavior issues that may come up throughout the year.  Fortunately, my students are always awesome.  Just kiddin'---they do have their moments but they far and in between.  I speculate this great phenomena is directly related to my students' lack of time to cause a ruckus.  Schedules are pretty full in the art room. 

I came across this wonderful book about a little girl, Liza, who draws so much that she runs out of paper.  Naturally, she finds a bigger canvas, called the wall:)  I mean who hasn't as a little kid drawn on the wall!  Just like any other kid, in her predicament, her mom is not so keen on her idea of wall drawings and takes her crayons away for the day!
The horror......obviously the story has a happy ending and little Liza realizes her favorite colors are just about everywhere. 

How does this relate to my art room??? 

Students thrive on a structured environment that encourages individuality but, also, lends to a community based setting where everyone feels safe and respected.  This year, I decided to embrace Liza's spirit and encourage my students to draw on the wall (the bulletin board, that is).

I have created a classroom management  system that helps students monitor their own behaviors and the behavior of their peers. The focal point of the art room is the "points" board in which students are remind of the three character traits (Tiger Traits) they are to demonstrate everyday: 
Be Responsible
Be Respectful
Be Safe

The art room has 4 main rules, posted at the bottom of the chart: RESPECT, LISTENING, NOISE LEVEL, and CLEAN UP.  Each day, classes are to keep their 4 points by simply following the rules and avoiding the dreaded red "X".
Throughout the year, each class works as teams to earn 48 points for each trimester for a "treat".  This "treat" is mainly decided by the class.  Usually, I pop in a movie while they are working or offer them a "free draw" day.  Most of the time we are so busy that the students do not mind working through their "treat" day.  

To highlight the successes of students, at the end of each art class I choose a student who has done a great job being responsible, respectful and safe to receive the "Crayon Award".  This lucky student, not only, gets to go home and ask for ice cream,but contributes to the school drawing wall (the bulletin board).
Unlike Liza, my students get to feel the freedom of drawing on a wall and not getting in trouble!
Along with watching a youtube video of the book being read, I found a wonderful poem that expresses how great being a crayon really is.  I hope this will inspire my students to be their best everyday and see their classmates a great "class crayons", while building an art community.

The Crayon Box that Talked
video of the poem by Shan Deolf

As a school team builder, we will all fill the "crayon box" with our favorite color.  It's a small step in creating a classroom atmosphere that affords my students the best learning environment.

xoxo, SMocK you.