25 August 2012

First Week of School . . .

First day! Lot's of time on my hands, since we didn't start having specialist classes until after lunch. The students spent the morning with their homeroom teacher. At 1:30, my first class started. The rest of the week, the classes ran on schedule. So this week, I taught 10 classes and roughly 230 students. Next week, I will have 14 classes and about 322 students. I'm ready!

For each class, I spent a good portion of the session talking about classroom rules. The 2nd and 3rd graders were asked to write their own rules on the board and then sign off on them. The 4th graders were asked to work in groups to come up with rules, then present them back to the class. Since each grade was given ownership of the rules they created for the space--their space--they are more inclined to follow them. Or at least that's proven to be the case in the past . . . 

I am having the students write their favorite songs on sticky notes so I can create a playlist for us to listen to while we make things. I have yet to edit this list for "appropriateness". But it looks like LMFAO (and quite possibly AC/DC) made the cut . . . I'm trying to figure out how to reward classes for behavior. I'm thinking--by the number of sticky notes already posted--that a dance party might be just the thing.

I had the students work on self-portraits, all grades. The 2nd and 3rd graders had to draw a picture of themselves doing their favorite thing and write a complete sentence about it somewhere on the page. The 4th graders had to draw themselves as a superhero, with their super power relating to their favorite thing to do. Then I had them present their work to the class.  

At first I was irritated with myself because these projects seem really simple. But, it was the first week of class:  our supplies have not arrived and I need to assess the students. Self-portraits are great for assessment, especially these projects. With these pieces I am able to assess the following things:  ability to understand and follow directions, ability to work efficiently, technical skill, idea creation, and presentation. I was surprised by how many of the students were not confident in their ability to draw . . . We will definitely be working on confidence and how to be proud of individual style this year.  

Especially with art, 2D and 3D play a huge role. Some of the students who may not be comfortable with drawing are extremely talented with building projects, sculptural work. (I am one of these people, so I know.) Others may be good at writing or composing, even playing music or dancing. All of these types of works are valued in my classroom and I hope to have projects that speak to each of these disciplines, allowing all students to feel successful in their efforts.

I am so happy to see the students using the space as it should be used:  sprawling out on the floor and the carpet, spreading out on the tables. This is what an art classroom should look like . . . I can't wait to see how future projects will affect this space!

Check out some of the finished works, ranging in age from 7 to 9. I'm so lucky to be working with such talented young people!

When school ended on Friday, Vanessa, Cheryl, and I met at a Mexican food restaurant to celebrate. We ate some really awesome food that my Texan self had been missing. It was bona fide Tex-Mex:  what a great find! And then on the way home--around 11pm--Vanessa and I decided to get a foot massage at a corner massage joint. Oh the questions I had walking into a massage parlor in Singapore at 11pm on a Friday night . . . 

Turns out they were actually giving massages. So I got an hour-long foot massage at 11pm on a Friday night while watching Columbiana. What a fabulous way to end the week! 

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