August 18, 2010


I'm back. I don't know where (I have two job offers) but it will all be decided by Friday. So, of course, the next thing on my mind is LESSON PLANS. Both jobs are in the inner city and the children need lots of structure or it is chaos. I spend up to two classes to review, discuss, model, and make games about rules and procedures. Last year, in the second half of the year, I started whole brain teaching. Click here to see the website for whole brain teaching.  It's totally not my style but the students responded so well and quickly to it that I kept it up all year.

DISCLAIMER: If you teach in a dream school with no behavior issues do not read on. It will waste time you could have been dreaming up a real lesson plan!

I used to have a class contract and students would develop the rules and sign the contract but when I started teaching 21 different classes this got confusing and time consuming. So here's what worked last year. 

The Five Class Rules




(If a kid says "I don't know how to make you happy" tell them they can follow rules 1-4 and that always put a smile on your face!)

You can download these posters for free from the wholebrainteaching website.

To learn the rules we say them. We sing them. We say them in a high voice, low voice, fast, slow and always with dramatic hand gestures. It is more like acting together then saying the rules. With the little ones we say them on the carpet before attendance EVERY class. Yes EVERY class. Soon I pick a student to lead. The student stands in front does the hand gestures and says the rules with the class. The coolest thing about this is you can ask any kid in the hallway what are the rules in the art room and they will be able to tell you on the spot!

For each of the rules that are followed there is a point system (pretty much whenever I feel like being positive to keep everyone on track). The rules are very "Alice in Wonderland". . . I am the Queen of Art and I make up the rules for points as we go. For example, "Jose you just gave Carlos your seat. Thanks!" and I'll put a point on the board, the class will do our cheer. I can put a points up for anything! The kids totally buy into my little world and start being really good. I will get into the point system later and talk about what I do with those little black sheep who don't want to be part of the "cool" group who does their work. I have a few different ways I've gotten those kids on my "side."

In the beginning this will shave away a good 10 minutes of your art time, to say the rules and do the points. Pretty soon though it will get down to about 5 minutes and your sanity!


Phyl said...

Congrats on having 2 job offers, in this tough time for finding ANY job! I never think of Connecticut when you say 'inner city' but I guess cities like Hartford and New Haven etc all are big enough.

With that said, there are discipline problems in rural areas as well, and you have some super rules. I've got to think some of mine over this year, and then maybe do a post. My number one rule: NO WHINING.

By the way - I'm especially enthralled with your idea of being "The Queen of Art". May I steal this?.

Unknown said...

You ARE the Queen of Art. One Year for Halloween at our school I dressed up as the Queen of Art.

Phyl said...

Ahh - you've given me an idea for this year. A couple of years ago I did VanGogh (bandaged ear, messy clothing, candles on the hat, and beard) and the kids loved it. I couldn't figure out how to top it last year so no costume. You've given me a goal -with my new sewing machine I can have fun putting it together!! Thanks!

Unknown said...

Can't wait to see your posts of Queen of ART! I'll post mine the same time. Of course I took pics of the costume.

Oh with these rules and whole brain teaching, I test ran it first on 5 of my tougher classes. It worked so well I am going to use it with everyone.

Angie said...

Didn't read this when you originally posted this last year. I would love to hear how much of the whole brain teaching you did with your class. I'm just reading about it now. I had such a tough year last year and am determined that next year will be better.

Barbara's Thought of the Day said...

Thanks for this posting this wonderful resource. I'm finishing up a class that I started this summer and this is just what I need to finish up my project.
So I'm sending you a BIG>>>>>Hug.