Tag Archives: classroom

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. 

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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.

What does your art room say?

I am lucky to be able to visit many art classrooms. As I travel around to our different schools, few things are more obvious than the  way the art rooms are set up and the message they send to our students.

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Without a conversation, I can walk into a classroom and begin to know what is important to that teacher. (On occasion I walk into a classroom and begin to understand what was important to the teacher who retired ten years ago.) The physical space we create (or fail to create) communicates a huge amount of information, intentional or not, to our students and can have a significant impact on the way the students feel about being there. If you are thinking, “that could impact enrollment,” you are absolutely right!

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If you haven’t thought too much about the FEEL of your classroom, you should! I could share many great examples, but today I will share images from just one teachers space.

A welcoming doorway, rugs and playful ligthing do so much to make this an inviting space where kids love to be. It doesn’t hurt any that there is enough extra space in the adjacent storage room that it could be converted into a student lounge where students are welcome to gather for lunch, or sit in a comfy old couch before or after school.

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Think about your space and how you can make it more inviting! In a future post we will get a little deeper into what your classroom says about what students learn. Stay tuned, and I look forward to sharing more of our awesome art rooms.

Loud-O-Meter

A great classroom management strategy shared by way of guest author, Jean-Marie. Thanks for passing this on! When visiting Miss Kromel, one of our outstanding new art teachers, Jean-Marie observed:

One table group was chosen to monitor the “Loud-O-Meter.” (Students at that table can move the Loud-O-Meter magnet up the scale as they see fit.)

loudometerWhen other kids see the noise level go up, they quiet down.  It is tied to earning the privilege of listening to music during art. It’s low tech and teaches the kids to manage their own behavior. Believe it or not it works!

Thanks Jean-Marie, and thanks Miss Kromel for sharing your great ideas with us!

Rug Time

There are so many quick and fun activities to do at the rug, and an effective teacher uses each one to teach, review, reflect, or assess. 


This week a student teacher used a fantastic approach that I don’t see very often. Simple, laminated picture cards were held up while she asked content questions. This third grade class was weaving so the questions were things like, “What do we call the cardboard surface that supports our weaving?” (With a picture of a cardboard loom) or “What type of knot is pictured?”

The teacher could get a quick impression of how many students thought they knew the right answer (by the number of raised hands) and more direct assessment information from the frequency of right and wrong answers. She also used the opportunity to reinforce knowledge and clear up any misconceptions. It was assessment, review, and remediation, all in one. It took three minutes to review 8-10 questions, and best of all, good cards can be organized and used year after year. 

Good stuff, Shannon and Aimee! I enjoyed the visit.