During my student teaching, I observed a middle school art teacher in her classroom. She used something she called "Mona Lisa". She had a poster of the Mona Lisa on her wall and every time she said "Mona Lisa" students immediately turned their eyes on her and were respectfully paying attention.
I decided to adopt this method in my own way. Throughout my room I have four small posters of the Mona Lisa with colored arrows pointing to her. On the first day of class, we talked about what to do when I say "Mona Lisa".
Once I told students about it, I had them practice by me saying "Mona Lisa". Some students gave me a pretty darn good impression of the Mona Lisa. I told students that when I say this, it means I have something very important to say that they shouldn't miss. Throughout the semester I have to remind them every now and then on what this means and why it is important but it is a unique way to get their attention without straining my voice or yelling "Quiet down!".
I started out teaching thinking I could get away without assigning students jobs. I thought students could clean up independently and respectfully with little intervention from me.
Boy, was I wrong. I was spending several hours a day cleaning up and wasting student time when it came to pass out work and handouts. That's when I came up with a pretty nifty system. I created five jobs:
I knew all students would want to be captain so I made sure to explain that the captain's job is the most work. They must act like a second teacher, they must rarely be absent, and they have the most responsibility. Team captains also have to do absent students' jobs. This seemed to take some of the glamour away from the role of captain. Since my classes range in size so much, I decided that any extra students at a table would choose either table crew or floor finder.
I had students spend 5 minutes deciding amongst themselves what jobs they would do. Most students had a vote for their captains. Next, I had students choose a team name. They had 10 minutes to come up with a creative name that everyone agreed on. I wrote down each students' job next to their name on my seating chart along with their chosen team names. I stressed that if students didn't do their job (example: if I saw that team "Lady Gaga"'s floor was dirty, then I knew that that team's floor finder didn't do their job) then they'd get their name written down. If I had to write their name down three times within the semester, then they'd get what we call a "Stop & Think".
Overall, this system has really stream-lined my daily instruction and saves me so much time at the end of the day. One good student doesn't get stuck doing all the cleaning as well. I think the custodians like it too. :)
I am a 5th year high school art teacher in Rochester, MN. I have taught middle school for 2 years and high school for 3 years. I truly enjoy working with students on a daily basis. I also enjoy teaching real-world skills such as problem solving, using technology, and the power of teamwork and collaboration. My joy is sharing my passion for art with others!
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