George Lucas Educational Foundation

Discipline in the Art Room

Discipline in the Art Room

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I am looking for creative ways to solve the discipline issues in the art room.It is an exciting place to visit but working there is quiet overwhelming!Since students have art only 1 day a week for 50 min. self discipline is so important so that everyone can stay on task and be creative. I find that students think of it as "time to have fun" which often translates to "do what we want" which would be fine if I was not under the same stress as everyone else to prove and push for results! Any thing that has worked for you would be great to share with the group, Julie

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John Schuler's picture
John Schuler
Assistant Principal, Osage Trail Middle School

I'm new to the site. I was an Art teacher for 21 years before becoming an administrator. I can tell you that the best way of dealing with discipline issues in the Art room is to establish concrete expectations and routines for the students. Those can be posted in the classroom and followed no matter what. It is important to have students produce art, but it is also important for students to develop the discipline necessary to be creative in a group environment. Having students line up outside your door before they enter your classroom and then quietly review your expectations before entering with them is good way to start. Having assigned seats (preferably cooperative learning-type groupings) is also a way to exude the control that is needed and be able to do management items efficiently (take attendance, learn names, etc.). Lastly, having a routine at the end of the class period is vital for the students to be able to achieve closure with what they are doing. Basically, every class period is like a story. It has a beginning, middle and end. The end should reflect things that happen at the beginning and the beginning should foreshadow what the middle and end should look like.

taborah darby's picture

Discipline can be a tricky area these days so most teachers have to get creative in the area. Depending on the age group most children can be swayed by many things that they find appealing . In the classroom a child may tone himself down if they find the subject interesting . So I suggest having a day that caters to that(living objects, clay or mold, etc...). Maybe one day the student that is giving you the most trouble can walk in your shoes for twenty minutes this may give them more respect for what you are trying to accomplish in the classroom everyday.

Liz Shaw's picture
Liz Shaw
Aspiring public school teacher, former private school teacher

Setting goals for the class period that are realistic. Sharing the goal with the class and give an over view of how to complete the task. For example, creating a clay model of the Parthenon day one create base, walls, and support inside the building. Once the goal for the day has been completed you can give the kids free time to model clay for 10 minutes, then have a clean up time. I am not sure what ages you have, but meeting goals are good for any age, it gives a feeling of accomplishment, and the reward can be time to create freely of their own accord. Another major thing is to remember kids like to know what to expect, if you set standards for the class regarding work and behavior and have concrete consequences for constant breaking of those standards the kids will fall into a rhythm and quite possibly get their work done without a problem. JUST remember kids are OBSERVANT and they don't forget. If you say after the third warning you have to sit out of the class until they are ready to join and participate, then you MUST do that. If you don't the kids will never believe you when you tell them a consequence. GOOD LUCK!


John is right - having clear expectations and well-taught rules and procedures are a must. However, these are just the support for a great classroom management plan. The teacher must also have a really positive attitude and bring joy to what s/he does as well as develop good relationships with students. Professionalism is also very important! Being organized, planning ahead, creating relevant and engaging lessons, and never taking personally student misbehavior are all extremely vital. If you create boundaries/structure for the students by holding them strictly accountable, you and they will have the freedom to have fun while learning/building art skills!
There are several great websites for classroom management that I recommend: by Michael Linsin by Jessica Balsley by Mrs. Anna Nichols

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