Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Thursday Think Tank: Pencil Exchange

Classroom labels and procedures really help me out in the chaos of our art studio. One in particular that I want to share with you is our Pencil Exchange procedure.  If a students pencil breaks or is seriously dull this is what they do:

Go to drawer labeled pencil exchange.

Open it!

Look at what's inside!

Return the "bad" pencils to the correct place.

Take the good pencils back to your desk.
This is great for me because I don't have every student asking me "Can I sharpen my pencil?" I have my art club students sharpen pencils before school or after depending on the day so I never have to worry about doing it myself most of the time.

FYI: Before this year I didn't have drawers like this in my room, so I had a designated area with these baskets on the counter for the exchange to take place. I've seen some really creative ways to do this on pinterest as well so check it out!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Monday Mayhem: New Year, Quick Draw Challenge, & Paper Mâché!

Being the first Monday in 2014 and the first day back, classes couldn't have been more crazy!

To help with kids coming in and getting on task quickly I came up with this Quick Draw Challenge Worksheet, its a type of creative thinking "sketchbook."  Since I can't afford to purchase, nor do I have space to store huge sketchbooks for each student, every six weeks kids in grade 2-5 have a single piece of printer paper with this on it: 

I just did this free hand, there are three similar blank spaces on the back and a place for name/info.

Here is how it plays out.  Each table has a folder with these in it, when the kids walk in a designated person gets their supply bucket and the person sitting next to the folder passes these out to everyone at the table.  It is a timed individual silent activity and they can only use a pencil. A prompted is displayed on the projector that they can read and I start a 5 minutes timer.  During the entire 5 minutes the kids are not supposed to stop drawing, their pencil should be moving the entire time.  I stress to them that in the same way we practice sports to train our muscles we have to practice and "train" our brains to be more creative.  In any core classroom this would sub for a quick write or board work, plus this also helps me to see which kids are absent since I don't keep roll in my classroom.

Another bonus is that during this first 5 minutes of quiet work time, I can pass out papers or supplies, or check last minutes plans without being interrupted! JOY!

I get prompts from this website here: Writing Prompts Tumblr <-- If you click it will take you directly to the prompt for the images I posted below. Now I know it's more for writing, but I just substitute draw in for describe. And if you want to get technical you could say that we are describing the prompt with visual language.

Draw your future robot servant prompt.

5th graders were slated to being paper mâché today with messy glue and newspaper and wouldn't you know that we just happened to have a drill that took up about 15 minutes of class time. Sad day, but we did get to work for a little bit and here are some pictures of that.

Messy time

Kids had to first create the armature or "skeleton" with wire, newspaper for muscles and wrap with tape.
So the story with this one is, the doll is going to be doing a headstand...
Of course no art teachers work would be done without striking the holiday art show after school! As soon as my last class was gone I left to get to the art center to take down all of the holiday artwork from December. 

Did I mention that this had to be done quickly because I had to meet the Heater repairman? Yup, my heater went out in the middle of the night and when I woke up it was below freezing! BRRRR!!!!!! At any rate this was definitely one Monday full of Mayhem that I'm glad I can close the door on!