Show me the Mona Lisa

I have always enjoyed seeing the variety of classroom strategies used in art classrooms. I am having just as much fun sharing them!

I love this simple, “artsy” way of making expectations clear. 

Not making expectations clear and explicit is a common mistake among those struggling with classroom management. It’s not enough to say “behave.” We have to explain to our students exactly what we want them to do! In this case, we can show them!

Thanks to Marissa and Linda for sharing this idea from their classroom. 


A Simple Reward System

Here’s another quick strategy I saw used with great effect recently… Do you know what that glowing purple object is on the table?

It’s a Bluetooth speaker!

The teacher has a playlist on her own phone and places the speaker, at a low volume, on tables that are showing that everyone is on task. The students really enjoyed having the reward of listening to music while they worked, even if the speaker had to move to another table after a few minutes. 

Thanks again to Bethany for sharing this idea!

Easy Access

What is this wardrobe rack doing in the art room?

I’m visiting Lois today who credits Laura Watson with this ingenious approach to storing visual resources. 

Some posters are mounted directly on wire hangers to display from hooks at the front of the room. 

Other hangers hold large plastic folders that hold collections of visuals organized by subject and medium. 

This vertical organization allows Lois to grab something quickly, even in the middle of a class, and post it on the board with clips. 

What a great idea! 

Thanks to Lois and Laura for sharing.

It’s Only Fair

Learning can be challenging — frustrating even. With a little experience, an art teacher can predict pretty accurately what the frustration level will be with the new content and skills. So why not warn your students? It’s only fair!

Thanks to art teacher Bethany Mallino who plans to include this and many other gold nuggets in a future publication called SmART StART in ART. (I’ll let you know when it’s available.)

Courage & Joy

Add to my recent post that educators need to have courage! Principal Dawn Hendrick and her staff at Woodlawn Elementary certainly demonstrated courage when they decided to dedicate an entire day to CARDBOARD!

A few of the teachers, including art teacher Angela Noland, started playing with the idea of doing’s Global Cardboard Challenge with some students at the school, and before they knew it, it was a whole school event. That’s right! Every student, in every classroom, grades K through 6 spent the entire day building with cardboard and then had a fantastic time sharing their creations with the school. 

While there was a great deal of flexibility, upper grades were challenged to design games that others could play. This required them to think creatively and critically, collaborate with others, and be goal directed and resilient. There was a lot of talk, too, about how this challenge really called on the students to apply their understanding of STEM disciplines, and there is certainly no denying that Art was involved. 

Where’s the A in STEAM? At Woodlawn, that’s where!

Many schools and teachers would balk at the thought of dedicating a full day to cardboard and play, but the day was not only successful, it was absolutely JOYFUL! 

Kudos to the staff at Woodlawn for having the courage to give your students an experience they learned from, and will not soon forget. ​​

Bridging the gap between Art and Education