Sunday, July 21, 2013

Looking Forward: The First Day of School

The First Day?!  Summer vacation just began. Well, for some of you, it just did. But, here in the dirty South, most of the teachers return to school in late July, and begin teaching in early August.

I've been desperately working on a personal sculpture project all summer, have done little school related stuff, and have recently been asked to do quite a bit of "pretty-i-fying" of the school halls. Since I refuse to head over to school any earlier than I must, this doesn't leave much actual teaching-planning time in my pre-planning/teacher-workday week at school.

If you are a first year teacher, you are getting ready to learn (and live) a really un-fun fact: Most of the time you spend in pre-planning will be in meetings. In fact, you should expect little to no time in your classroom preparing for the school year during pre-planning. Most principals send out an email over the summer stating that the school is open for teachers about a week ahead of pre-planning. . . I've come to learn (the hard way) this is a strong suggestion that you get on over to school, and get your classroom ready before pre-planning. So, when I say I will not head back to school "until I must," that means I'll be darkening the doorway about one-two days before pre-planning, and will be getting as much paperwork done prior to that time as possible.

The first fews days of school are always trying to me as an Art teacher. I don't want to go over rules for six hours straight; I want to make Art!  So, I long ago left the whole "let's go over the syllabus word-for-word" stuff by the wayside, and jump right in!  This year, school starts on a Wednesday, which makes the whole "here is a mini project to begin Art" thing a lot easier.  I like for the first project I do every year to be something the students make individually, and that I can hang as one collaborative piece in the main hallway. In the past, we have all made mini 4 in 4 in self portraits in solid colors of the color wheel. We then hang the portraits in color order to make a "rainbow of faces." This is a wonderful first project for elementary students! This allows me to show them how we make Art as a community, and also allows me to get some stuff up on those sad, empty walls ASAP.

This year, I want to do something a little bit deeper, and am using an incredible concept from Susan Bivona over on Art on the Move to make a similar collaborative piece with my students.
image by Susan Bivona from Art on the Move, seen here:  http://art-on-the-move.blogspot.com/2012/10/sowhat-is-art.html
Here is what my first few days look like, and what I plan to do with my class time.

Day 1:
1. Meet students at the door, get their names, and direct them to their numbered, assigned seat
2. Welcome students to begin class
3. Go over how to say my name ("You can call me Ms. Zschaber or Ms. Z.")
4. Show a quick PowerPoint about me (here is me with my dogs! Here is my Art! etc. etc.)
5. Ask students to grab a note-card and pencil from the center of the table.
6. Have the students answer questions about how they feel about art, how they feel about art class, what they hope to do in art class family, dreams, hopes, and activities on the card (I use these later to customize projects that are as relevant, engaging, and interesting to my students as possible).
7. Ask a few brave souls to share their responses.
8. Collect the cards.
9. Hand out the syllabus.
10. Go over the syllabus in a brief manner by showing a funny PowerPoint about class expectations.
11. Go over the rules (again brief).
12. Ask students to get a sheet of paper from the center of their table.
13. Demo to students that they will be tracing their hands and arms.
14. Students are to trace hands and arms, cut out work, and label it with their names.
15. Tell students they will be asked to define "What is Art" this week, and to think about their answer before the next class.

Day 2:
1. Welcome students at the door, remind them of the class expectation to read the board upon entry (this involves getting work from previous day).
2. Visually check who follows directions.
3. Welcome and begin class by reiterating the classroom entry expectations
4. Go over the outline for the class, and demo material dispensation and clean up procedures.
5. Ask students to define Art on the scratch paper at their table (in complete sentences).
6. Ask a few brave souls to share. Show a mini PPT about defining Art. Allow students to discuss.
7 . Give students two minutes to get their materials (which they should've done in step 1, and remind them again of this practice).
8. Demo the next steps in the project (decorate their hands in the color assigned to their table).
9. Demo storage procedures for work that needs to dry.
10. Direct students to the "I'm finished" assignment
11. Allow students to work.
12. Go over clean up procedure.
13. Clean up, have closer, and leave.

Day 3:
1. Welcome students at the door, remind them of the class expectation to read the board upon entry (this involves getting work from previous day).
2. Visually check who follows directions.
3. Make a list on the board of students who follow directions and say THANK-YOU!
4. Welcome and begin class by reiterating the classroom entry expectations
5. Go over the outline for the class, and demo material dispensation and clean up procedures, and hallway procedure for hanging artwork.
6. Give students two minutes to get their materials (which they should've done in step 1, and remind them again of this practice. This is the last day they will be allowed to do this w/o consequence).
7. Demo how to finish up the project (add your "What is Art" definition to your hand).
8. Students add finishing touches to their artwork
9. Finished students work on "I'm Finished" assignment (usually a sketchbook assignment).
10. Clean up, go over procedures for hanging up artwork in the hallway.
11. Have students gather work, and hang work in hallway collectively, (last 10 mins of class).
12. Ask a few brave souls to share their answers and discuss their choices. Have a mini-discussion about What Art Is.
13. Tell students what the project will be for the following week, dismiss from hallway to next class.




4 comments:

  1. Hi, Just wondering if you could share the power point you used for defining what is art? I love this idea for starting out the year.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You can find a dowloadable copy of my "What is Art?" presentation here: http://www.slideshare.net/ksumatarted/what-is-art-24989857

    Feel free to download and edit to suit your needs. :)

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  3. This sounds like a pretty awesome plan for the first few days of school. I love the idea of the community art. I can imagine that kids become more appreciative of art that they are a part of.


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    ReplyDelete
  4. I absolutely love the hands and "What is Art" display!! I'm going to use this idea if you don't mind! :)

    ReplyDelete