Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Remember that time I taught at the Library and I believed that all teens & tweens were little angels?

I hosted Fandom Friday at my art studio the other night. I advertised it for Teens & Tweens to come together in the art room and make masterpieces inspired by their favorite fandom!
Leonardo after da Vinci's Mona Lisa

I was so excited to have five high school kids and six junior high kids spend their evening making art!  I loosely presented the idea of making fine art parodies and provided several resources, but I let them know they were free to use whatever supplies I had and they could work independently on whatever they would like.

It started off pretty good, but the kids had some super high energy.  By the end of the night I was gently scolding a child for running around chasing another kid with a painty paintbrush, unlocking my classroom door to let an escapee back in, asking someone to get off the floor, and helping someone else get paint off their white sleeve.  (Oh yeah, those were all the same two kids.)  Have you ever been to a child's birthday party during the last 5 or 10 minutes?  The kids just had their cupcake and are waiting for their parents to pick them up and they are not engaged, so they run around and chase each other and squeal?  Yeah.  It was like that.

It wasn't that much different than teaching my K-5s, and it was a completely different experience  I had at the library for teen drawing night. I was thinking of my classroom discipline strategies, like using "I" statements:

"I don't like it when you paint on your neighbors face."  And "I need you to stop squealing loudly."

 I also thought about how effective giving students choices are, like:

"You can sit back at the table and work on a project, or I can throw you out the window.  You make the choice."

These were not working too well.

I haven't had discipline issues in my other classes at the studio because I've set up a few mini procedural things as the class begins.  I didn't really even think about stating, "The most important rule in the studio is to stay in your seat!" to a bunch of teens, plus they know there isn't really much I could do about it, except not welcome them back to the next event. Admittedly, I know the kids very well who were the worst.  I know their parents and I've known them since they were little.  I definitely think I could have nipped it in the bud sooner, but because I knew the kids I didn't think it was going to get that out of control.

Regardless!  Everything else about the evening was great.  It was once again refreshing and inspiring to see so many young artists getting excited about art!  Check out our photostream!

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