Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mona Lisa and Other Management Techniques

I recently read about the Mona Lisa call/response technique and being Mona Lisa ready. How perfect! My students were already hearing me say "Mona Lisa quiet" because of the noise level display but these directions were so clear, specific, and fun!

     Looks like a new poster is in order!

I didn't send this poster to the printer. Instead, I used our on-site A3 color printers. (For those of you unfamiliar with A3, it's twice the size of A4. A4 is very similar to 8 1/2 by 11.)

While I was designing, printing, and laminating, I decided to illustrate my "first grade rules."

Last year, first grade was rather large with an especially high concentration of rowdy boys. While I usually prefer rules that are broad guidelines and general principles, I found I needed some explicit instructions.

     Stay in your seat.
     Raise your hand.
     Only talk to people at your table.

I wrote these rules on the board and reviewed them at the beginning of class each week. When students violated a rule, I directed their attention back to the board before going any further. While my normal teaching style is more relaxed, this system worked to restore some order to the chaotic class.

These students are now second graders. The class has been split and a few additions were made, but I've found some of them still need the structure of those three simple rules.

I rewrote the rules on my white board during the first week of school but now I have these spiffy signs!

Each rule is a separate full-color A3 print, laminated and displayed via magnet tape on the whiteboard. I like that the rules are individual print-outs so I can separate them to focus on a specific rule or move them to another part of the board. I can even take them down entirely for an upper level class that is permitted to get out of their seats to get supplies.

In the same vein as the Art Room Noise Levels, I found examples from art history to illustrate the instructions. I searched through my AP Art History images to find appropriate works. I like that the three images I settled on are ancient, Renaissance, and non-western. I might change the image for only talking to kids at your table. I'm not thrilled with using a 3D example. In addition, I wouldn't mind something more modern or a non-western that is less influenced by colonization. If you have suggestions, comment below! For now, I'm just excited to have moved beyond Expo markers on the whiteboard.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Graphing with Grade 4

I like things to be pretty.
                                            Aesthetically pleasing.

But sometimes, the function is the main thing.

Today, I made a rudimentary graph. Then I snapped a picture of it. And now I'm posting it. See, just this weekend, I read Mr. E's post about graphing favorite shapes. I've done similar things before, but with that post fresh in my mind and five extra minutes at the end of 4th grade art, I decided to do an informal poll of the students. They had just spent the period doing a continuous line drawing of their shoe followed by another (not necessarily continuous) line drawing of their shoe. Afterwards, they selected their favorite and mounted it on a piece of colored paper.

      So which was their favorite?

As much as the kids complain about the challenge of a continuous line drawing, I knew from last year that many students select that as the better of their drawings. How many today? I asked each student, just placing a dot in the rectangle to signify each response. The class was almost evenly split.

It was quick. It was ugly. I'm glad I did it. We practiced math skills while recognizing diverse opinions and reflecting on our own art.

Now I want to create a more permanent unlabeled graph for future activities. The question is where and how...

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