Keeping students focused in the art room can be tough, as the class is usually less structured and students have more freedom during work time. However, there are methods that art educators can use to give their class the best chance at working hard and behaving in a respectful way during art class. Read on and find some tips and tools for art classroom management.
3 Art Classroom Management Goals
The art room is unique, and that is part of the reason why so many students look forward to time spent in art class. However, keeping things under control can be a struggle for some art teachers. Keep these 3 goals in mind when brainstorming your chosen classroom management methods:
Strike a Balance
Creativity is rarely silent and still, and that means that an art classroom full of creative and inventive students is bound to be a bit noisy and chaotic. Even so, there should be a balance between chaos and a structured, quiet classroom. Some classes will need more time for clean up, and require a quieter work time experience.
It’s important, when considering classroom management, to remember that different groups of students work best in different environments. While some classrooms will require more quiet and control, some students might benefit from or work well despite a little added noise and movement. Have you considered getting rid of chairs?
The Best for All
One other aspect to consider is the goal to find the best learning environment for all the students. In a class full of students who prefer quiet, there may be a few students who would be fine with more noise. Likewise, a few students may prefer quiet in a class that predominantly handles chaos well. The goal to find the middle ground or the best learning environment for everyone can be tricky, but is worthwhile.
3 Classroom Management Techniques
Methods for creating a focused classroom of students can vary between groups, but there are a few tactics teachers have used to keep things under control. Try one of these three methods with your art students:
To keep students from constantly getting up and both losing their own focus and distracting others, assign a student in each group or table the task of being the “gopher.” Only that student can leave the table to get supplies or collect the group’s portfolios.
Call their attention:
If the classroom becomes too chaotic, or the sound levels are too high, call the class’ attention and wait for every student to comply. Only once you have their full attention, you can give the instructions. It’s important to have patience and wait.
Give students choices:
Students feel more committed to their activities if they feel that they have some input. Give each group a set of decisions at the beginning of the class, such as which person will collect the portfolios, which student is the “checker” for clean up, etc. This will help to give students a sense of responsibility during the class hour, and help to ensure everything is cleaned up properly at the end.
Classroom Management Tools for the Art Room
There are tools art teachers can buy and utilize in the classroom, helping them to monitor the time and noise levels and giving students a visual idea of whether they need to alter their noise levels or begin to clean up.
These handy tools can be high-tech or as simple as a sand timer, but they help students to recognize that it is time to transition into cleanup. Some products like the Learning Resources Time Tracker Classroom Timer even give students a stoplight-like visual for how much time they have left.
These high-tech tools read the noise levels in a room and will let you and your students know when the sound has reached too high of a level in the classroom. Some of them even come with a timer built in like this one.
Tips for Starting a New Classroom Management Strategy
To get started with a new or optimized classroom management strategy, consider the students and their needs. Then start by explaining to them the strategy you have chosen, the ways in which they need to work within the guidelines, and how it will benefit them. Of course, over time you can add restrictions or change the guidelines, but keeping students focused and the energy levels under control will result in a more cohesive and enjoyable art room experience.
If you’re looking for more classroom management tips, check out our Keeping Order in the Art Room blog post.