Hello, cats and kittens and welcome to the very first day(s) of art! It's been a wild -n- crazy week so far and, y'all, IT'S ONLY TUESDAY. Which means we're having fun, right?! Well, somebody is, anyway. Glue sniffing will do that to a gal.For the last couple of years, I've shared with you what my first day(s) of art class look like (go here and here for that, y'all) . I keep saying "day(s)" because my schedule is a lil different than the rest of the art teacherin' universe (I ain't complainin', I'm just sayin'). I see my first and second graders for 30 minutes, twice a week; my third and fourths for 60 minutes, once a week and kindergartentown (who don't start until next week) for 40 minutes, once a week. So! What I've got for you today is what I teach the youngers over the course of two classes and the olders in one class. Make sense?
Before we get started, lemme just tell you a couple of things I decided at the start of this school year:
* My room doesn't have to be perfect but it does have to be functional on the first day. Y'all, I used to spend entire summers in my art room. Rearranging. Organizing. Making visuals. It was exhausting, time-consuming and I never gave myself a break! This year, I seriously spent a handful of days in my room preparing. I always redecorate my room with a theme (see my Paris-inspired art room and my Asian-themed art room) but this year, I've only just begun updating my decor. Mostly because I knew I didn't need it at the start of the year and I was enjoying every last drop of my summer!
* Introduce the art room, routines and other new stuffs gradually. I used to try to cram in everything in the first couple of art classes. What do you think the kid's first impression of art class was? Rules, Do's and Don't's, Procedures and Zzzzzz-snoozefest. I think that whole deal is flawed. The kids only hear about the first two minutes of whatever it is you are talking about anyway. You go over one million boring-ish things with them all at once and you've lost them! I want their first impression of art class to be a fun one so we are covering those necessary things in baby bites, over several art classes. And doing some fun stuff everyday, like painting on the first day of art class!
Those flash cards I mentioned? They say: inspire, art, artist, create, creative, imagine, unique, etc. All words that describe the kids, art class and what artists do! My first thru fourth grade students read these at the door. For kindergarten, I show them shape flash cards. More in this vocab blog post.This is the view of my art room from the doorway. This is what the students see when they enter my room. The "teacher chair" is on the right and the other students are to sit on the floor in rows in front of the "teacher" (the quotes are cuz the teacher is a student I picked at the door to both monitor student behavior and play the game "see, think or wonder".)
Here's what the kids seated on the floor see. A view of my giant telly with an image from our Artist Inspiration, Henri Rousseau. When I am finished quizzing the kids at the door, I ask the "teacher" who was the best behaved boy and girl. Those two kids will get to be the host of our end-of-art-class game The Smartest Artist.
At this point, I take over and introduce our Word of the Week. What the kids don't know is that I am secretly introducing them to our art class routines as we do this each and every art class! Whenever they hear the WoW, they are to "whoop! whoop" which is one part annoying and two parts fun, depending on your mood.
After talking about our WoW and our Artist Inspiration, I (re)introduce my students to Jes, our mascot/traveling tiger! I made a Jes a couple of years ago (details here) and he traveled around the world like Flat Stanely. It was so fun, the kids loved it...and then the poor dude was shipped to China never to be seen or heard from again (in my imagination, he took a turn to Bangkok and decided it was so fun he never wanted to leave!). So I made a new one and the kids are so excited to send him packing. I'll keep you posted on how that goes as I'm going to need your help!
Then we made a list of all the places we thought Jes should go!
After a quick stretch, we talked about rules. Oh, rules. Double snooze. But we made ours all sorts of wild and crazy which I think I explained in el video. So, we'll just leave it at that!
We have a new incentive this year with a sticker chart! I've never EVER done a sticker chart, y'all. I'm seriously the most unorganized and inconsistent person you will ever meet in your life. However, I juuuuust might be able to do this one. All the special area folk in my school are on board so we are hoping to do it together. The kids have the chance to earn two stickers by following the two thoughts above.
At the end of a quarter, whatever grade level class has the most stickers is rewarded with (a super cheap/easy) party! Like a 5 minute dance party at the end of class, popcorn party(tho we have so many allergies, y'all. It might have to be peanut-free/glutenless/flavorless/why-bother-living candy of some sort), you get the idea. Who else does this? Has it worked for you? TEACH ME YOUR MAGICAL WAYZZZZ.
At this point, I wanna hear the kids talk because I'm tired of hearing myself. So I call roll. The kids are to respond with a "Hello, Mrs. Stephens" (which helps the newbies learn my name, to hear it said 20 other times!) and then I ask them a silly question like those seen above. Yesterday, I asked one boy, who was new, when his birthday was and he replied "Today!" So, OF COURSE we had to stop, drop and sing Happy Birthday. The kids love these questions because they are random and ridiculous. Which is always a good time, says me.
Oh, lookie! I can's! I changed up how I post these and I'm really digging it. Let's zoom in, shall we?
Big, simple, kid-friendly and with visuals! Thanks, Dollar Tree.
This will also help the kids know what supplies to gather for art projects of the day.
So this was the beginning-of-the-school year decorating that I did which I felt was necessary for that very first day. The cute stuff will come later. And when it does, room tour!
Another new thing for us this year, the Look What I Learned Today board! I call on three kids to tell me one thing and jot it down. While I do, the kids do their "ooguh, ooguh, OOOOGUHHH" chat. It's fun to see what sticks with them!
Our wrap up game at the end of class is The Smartest Artist. The Masterpiece Gallery is for the fun art the kids like to bring in to share.
Now, for the younger kids, that was the end of art class on day one. But for the olders, the fun was just starting. I told them their table assignments, sent them shopping at the store, had them drop their supplies off at their seats and meet me at my new demo table (seen in the center). After a quick texture painting and printing demo, the kids set to work!
This year, at Tennessee Arts Academy, the super awesome Laura Lohmann of Painted Paper, talked just about everyone into painting with our students on the first day of art. So we did!
With a limited palette of yellow, blue, turquoise and white, we painted and mono-printed as many papers as we could until it was time to clean up.
We now have a huge stack of these beauties to use for our upcoming jungle-themed projects! Henri Rousseau, eat your heart out...
So much happiness.
And a beautiful mess at the end of the day! I can't wait to share with you what we do with our papers but that will just have to wait. Mama needs to soak these feets!