The first few weeks of school are a great time to start new structures and routines. Even if you feel like you got a bit lax with your routines last spring, the new year and new expectations you set can really give you a fresh start. Consistently keeping up with a new routine is another story, but for now, we will have high hopes :).
One routine that I find art teachers are on the fence about is whether students should enter the art room quietly or not. Does the way students enter our rooms set the stage for the rest of the art class period? Can it make or break your classroom management? Although this is up for debate, from my own personal experience, I have found that when students enter the classroom quietly, ready to learn, the rest of the class period goes much more smoothy. One of the worst feelings as an art teacher is having students walk quietly in the hallway with their teacher, and then, the second they cross the threshold of the art room, having them start running, screaming, touching art supplies, coming up to you with a story about the tooth they lost, etc. Yikes. I’ve been there. Where is the respect? Why do students feel there is such a difference in expectations between the hallway and the art room?
Expectations are something that we as teachers have complete control over. We can help set the stage for a positive start to class right from the moment the kids enter the room.
I suggest having students repeat entering the room until they can show you the routine correctly. Yes, I’ve hauled a class back out into the hallway 2 or 3 times to practice until they could show me. One group even came in at recess to practice. That was a fun time.
Better yet, here are some ideas for all age levels on how you could facilitate a quiet entry to the art room, without making it feel regimented and stuffy.
4 Essential Tips to Help Your Students Enter the Classroom Quietly
1. Set up a ‘Bell Ringer’ activity that is projected on the overhead or whiteboard for students to start immediately when they enter. This is a great time to get in sketchbook activities as well.
2. Have assigned jobs posted for setting up art supplies. When students enter, they can immediately start set-up without waiting for your instructions.
3. Have a meeting place, like a carpet, as a central landing zone for students to come to when they enter the art room efficiently and quietly.
4. Start your instructions right away, even as soon as when the first few students enter. Everyone else who follows will be very quiet, not wanting to miss out on the instructions. This will set a serious tone to the beginning of art class and get everyone ready to work.
As with any new routine, practice and consistency will make all the difference in your results.
Do you allow students to enter the classroom quietly or not?
What are some tips you use to facilitate students’ entry into the art room?