Thursday, March 27, 2014

Trial and Error

So I've been adapting most of my lessons to the mobile art program pretty well.  But there are definitely some things that have to be changed completely.  Anything that I would normally put on a drying rack now has to go out in the hallway against the wall to dry.  The littles are used to doing this, since they make a lot of projects in their academic curriculum that need drying.  But the big kids?  It was weird to them, and so part of me just wants to nix all that with the big kids.  Their work got stepped on a bit, since they are more rowdy and have bigger feet, I guess?

I was trying out a faux batik lesson with first grade, and the process was to "draw" on muslin fabric with white glue, then let it dry.  Next day, paint over the entire piece of fabric with bold colored tempera paint.  Since I'm on a cart, I gave everyone blue paint.  I couldn't deal with multiple colors of tempera in a room with barely any space to walk between tables, and ONE sink.

The other teachers have been very receptive and accommodating for the most part.  My school is awesome, and my colleagues are the best.  Seriously.  One teacher said I could just leave the wet projects at the kids' seats, since they are my last class of the day and that way, each kid would know which one was theirs without having to mess with writing names on fabric.  I hope I didn't stain her tables blue with paint.  

I have assigned helper kids to collect work at the end of the day once it's dried, and put it back in their portfolio box, but I really don't know if that's happening or not.

The hardest thing for me is when I've made my example, and it worked fine for me, but then when I get in the room, something malfunctions and I have to switch gears on the spot.  I can't leave the room, and I can't send a kid to fetch something, since my stuff is all spread out in various places and I don't even know where everything is offhand.  Most often, I run out of paper, or there's a new kid in class who doesn't have a sketchbook yet, and I have no way to make him one right there.

Another thing I'm struggling with is figuring out a way to have "I CAN" statements posted for my lessons.  I can put them in the powerpoint when I introduce a project, and I can reiterate them while I'm teaching, but the only other thing I can think of is having the kids copy them in their sketchbooks.  That takes a lot of time though, and when I'm already losing minutes setting up, traveling to the classes, and cleaning up, I'm not sure I'm willing to take 20 minutes for a whole class to copy a bunch of objectives.  I could also have them posted on a white board that is attached to my main cart somehow, but it would have to be HUGE to fit everything.  Maybe a flipchart or something?  But again, more stuff to take with me everywhere...

I also get a little frustrated when kids explain to me, "Oh, everybody will be quiet if you just ring the bell," or whatever their classroom "thing" is.  I cannot remember 35 different things for 35 different classrooms. Oi vey.

Also, if I take my laptop with me to the classrooms, so that I can access all my files faster, I inevitably have to reboot entirely so that I can connect to the network in that room.  But that's just a technology glitch. 

So every day is different.  I keep a binder with me that has my lesson plans, class lists, and schedule.  And on each grade level cart, I put the project example.  Yes, I trust the kids not to touch it when it's out in their hallway.  Maybe I shouldn't, but so far, so good!  Ha!  Sometimes I can't even get the cart into the room.  There are so many desks and obstacles in each room and the layouts are completely different, sometimes from week to week!  Our teachers, being so fabulous, like to change up their seating arrangements frequently, which is good for the kiddos but not for me.

I hope that by sharing my experience I can help somebody out who's going through this transition!  I would love to hear about your own situations, too.  Maybe we can put our heads together to solve some of these challenges!

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