Saturday, September 8, 2012

Rules and procedures...check! Now for the fun stuff!

Whew!  The first two days of school went by in a blur!  I think I can recite my rules and procedures in my sleep now!  I always kind of actually dislike the first two days.  They're so boring because we don't get to do much art!  I broke up the "lecturing" I had to do by using a powerpoint to display my rules with pictures and the grade levels participated in different tasks...K-2 participated in a scavenger hunt to find the different materials around the room and I had 3-6 take a quiz.  I know what you're thinking...a quiz??  A following directions quiz.  And let me just say, I LOVED seeing the expressions on their face when they answered all the questions and realized that they didn't actually follow the directions!  The last question stated, "Do not answer any of the questions on this test.  Turn your paper over and draw a picture while everyone finishes!"  Ironically, only about 6 kids followed directions all together, and they weren't even the students I expected to follow the rules!

The kids really seem to like and are responding well to the changes I've made to my room this year (table jobs, table supply bins, Artist of the Week, etc.), which makes me feel really good about this year!

This year, we have a new principal as well who has laid down her own "law" about consequences, which is good.  She is asking that if we have students who don't turn in homework, or refuse to work, that we call home first.  If they do it again, it's an automatic write up.  This was different from our previous principal, who allowed us to send students to the office for refusing to work, and accepted write-ups on the first offense.  Now, I have to admit that I haven't really been one to call home that often with behavior issues.  Usually, I talk with the classroom teacher, they take away recess time, maybe use it with a discussion with the parents when they call home for another situation with the student...

Therefore, I really thought about my rewards and consequences during staff development days and came up with a concrete consequences checklist.  Our previous principal was pretty easy going with handling write-ups and such, but our new principal wants us to take a little more control first...which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Students will receive a warning, then a seat change (if needed).  If that doesn't work, they will fill out a "Making Smart Choices" sheet that must go home to be signed and returned by their parent.  I've seen various ways teachers have done this on Pinterest, and here's my version:

I have to say, the counselor is thrilled with this idea, just because it's more documentation!

Next week will finally start pre-assessments and art projects, so hopefully I'll be able to start adding more pictures of projects!  As for me this weekend...this is who I'll be lounging and relaxing with!
"Mom, we're soooo glad you didn't have to go to work this morning!"


  1. I hate the first few days too with all the rules and blah, blah, blah! With the little guys I just did the most necessary and we got to work! The 3d-5th graders got 15 minutes of new and old procedures. After that I gave them an Art is... activity to work on for the last 15 minutes. I have three more days of this and then Thursday we get down to the good stuff! :)

  2. This Smart Choices paper seems like such a good idea but I worry about the challenge of enforcing it - I mean, if you fill one out EVERY time someone is out of seat, or answers without raising hand, etc, I can imagine this could be pretty time-consuming. Then you have to keep track of who you give them to, and how to follow up if they don't bring them back signed, etc. This kind of idea always fell apart for me because I ale ways had just SO much going on. Hopefully youll be better at managing it than I would have been.

    One suggestion: at the top somewhere it should clearly say that this paper is from the art room: '"today I did not make smart choices IN ART CLASS" so the parent knows from the get-go.

  3. I hope my prior comment didn't offend- it wasn't meant to. I realize this paper comes AFTER a warning and seat change, but I guess I always had trouble keeping track of that stuff in the general atmosphere of the busy art room. My problem, not yours! Hopefully you'll be much better at record-keeping and management than I ever was.

    1. No worries, I understand! This is meant to be the last resort before I have to make a call home. I usually don't have very many behavior issues in class...just with the same select few who cause problems in other classrooms as well, so this is actually geared more towards those students. I think last year, there were only four students I had that were repeat offenders that had to be sent to the office on a somewhat regular basis for refusing to work, disrupting class with rude and inappropriate remarks, being extremely disrespectful, etc. I'm pretty OCD at keeping daily records. I give each student a daily grade at the end of class for participation and behavior, so that's where I'll mark that I sent home one of these sheets with the student.

      Thanks for catching the IN ART CLASS part! I thought I had that in there but I guess I don't! That will be changed first thing Monday!