Improve Classroom Management in the Art Room Today!

With the holidays approaching, I bet you have noticed a new level of excitement in the students you teach.  I bet that level of excitement is only going to increase in the coming weeks.  This is why I have dedicated this week to Classroom Management here on AOE.  This month I also have tons of color lesson resources, lesson plans and formative assessments to share with you, but this topic seemed to be calling me to an increased urgency. I am ready to start today!

I am not going to re-do my classroom management plan. I am going to reaffirm my commitment to my classroom management plan and take steps along a journey to improve and be more accountable to my plan.  Join me along for the journey this week.  I really want see if taking some expert tips and a renewed commitment will make a difference.

I recently discovered a website called “Smart Classroom Management”If you have not visited this site, it is definitely worth your time!

I spent a few hours on this site, trying to glean some tips I could take and apply to the art classroom.  The posts this week will be using tips and tricks that Michael Linsin (blogger and author of the book “Dream Class) has given on his blog. I do not take the credit for most of these tips, however, I will be using them and making direct applications from his strategies to the art room.

First of all WHY am I focusing on classroom management?

  • I want to protect the rights of my students to learn and enjoy school without interference
  • Learn to love teaching and love my job no matter what students, what district or what type of schedule I am faced with.  Circumstances are excuses for so many people. I do not want to let excuses and circumstances prevent me from becoming the best I can be at any given task, in this case, my classroom management and it’s direct relationship to my attitude.
  • Classroom management is an area I would like to work on . It’s the thing that haunts me. Keeps me up at night. I am organized, have lessons that teach my curriculum standards well, and LOVE teaching art. I do not love managing students.  I am also the art department facilitator in my district. Managing adults can be daunting, but in my opinion, it’s nothing like managing students.  Those who visit my classroom say I have great management skills. I know I do not.  I know there are days I make empty threats, don’t follow through and allow the busy art classroom to trump doing the right thing for classroom management.

This week, that all changes!

Managing students can be stressful.  The day goes so much better when “the kids are good.”  According to Michael from Smart Classroom Management, these are some of the consequences of poor classroom management:

  • When you don’t follow your plan, you’re left with using your voice and your wits—persuasion, intimidation, manipulation—to curb unwanted behavior. Besides being ineffective in the long run, both are pull-your-hair-out stressful.
  • The worst position to be in as a teacher is one where you feel you have no leverage, no recourse, and no options other than responding out of anger and going home stressed and discouraged.
  • Teachers who disregard their classroom management plan are the same teachers who find themselves being ‘that’ teacher—the one they never pictured themselves being: stone-faced, angry, sarcastic. Being this way in an attempt to gain control will virtually guarantee that students will resent you and have every incentive to make your life difficult.
  • Many teachers leave the profession because of it. And I don’t blame them. If I felt that students controlled my fate, that they decided whether I enjoyed my day or not, I’d consider another line of work too.

I won’t go so far as to say I am to this point, but the whole idea is to never get there. I want to avoid the burnout I see all around me. I want to start today! Each day I will either introduce a new strategy to you or reflect on how my plan is going this week. I am excited to dig deep and make some improvements! Will you join me?

Today’s Goal: Stay Calm

Decide that you will stay calm and relaxed no matter what happens that day. Commit yourself to handling every situation, every unforeseen circumstance, and every behavior with poise and confidence.

Wish me luck on Goal #1, which is based upon Michael’s Decide First Method.

Who is going to join me this week?

Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • Anna

    I’m with you! I just started with your “ART” word for talking in the classroom- it’s only been a week.. but so far so good. And you are right! The kids will say when the “A” gets taken away, “She took the A off, be quiet!” No one wants to sit in silence…
    I love teaching art and I go in everyday with a postive attitude and the kids know it. We have fun. However, I do want to focus on classroom management and become a better teacher all around (become the best art teacher that I can be!). I’ll be following this thread!

  • Kellie

    AWESOME resource Jessica! Thank you. As the ‘Encore’ teacher (the district’s new title for specials), I know you know the struggles we encounter. 6 classes a day, 125+ different students tomorrow, the day after that and one more time before we start all over again. I read your question for Michael and will be interested in what he has to say.

    I know this is an area where I can improve and I see where I have different strengths with different age levels of students. Well, becoming the teacher I want to be is a process and one I’m willing to work on. Thanks for your insight!


  • Jenny LaMielle

    I have found that Fred Jones and his book “Tools for Teaching” makes classroom management much more manageable. His book reads like a manual.

  • Connie

    Great site! I have been teaching for four years now and seem to have gotten a grasp on most of my classroom management issues. I just feel that I am constantly having to repeat instructions and making myself irritable. I used to have 40 minute classes but after the new year they changed them to an hour and I’m EXHAUSTED. Three classes back to back with no break or time to change out materials is wearing me thin. Any advice?