First Week of Art: Rules Project

I have struggled with the most effective way to present the art room rules. This fall I plan to try something new – an engaging rules project like the one Elizabeth Stroud uses in her art room.

Ms. Stroud’s rules lesson is an example of project based learning. I love how Ms. Stroud’s students work as teams, and come up with so many ways to demonstrate the art room rules. Even very young students were able to articulate examples of the rules!


Do you have a creative way of teaching the rules in your art room?

Flipped Art Room – What I Learned at NAEA14

One of the best sessions I attended at NAEA14 had to be Meranda Dawkins ‘Flipping the Art Classroom’. Not familiar with flipped classrooms? Essentially, the teacher creates a video lesson which is viewed by the students at home. The next day, students come to school and do the assignment.

Meranda creates her own instructional videos and  does a ‘modified’ flipped art room: although she sends the lesson link home, she shows the videos at the beginning of class. After viewing, Meranda puts the video on mute and loops it during the rest of class.

This is great way to catch up a kid who was absent, or to help kids who don’t pay attention very well. It also benefits the art teacher who teaches the same lesson to multiple classes: you won’t leave anything out no matter how many classes you teach.

flipping the art classroom by meranda dawkins

Slide from Meranda Dawkins NAEA14 session. Scan the QR code at lower right to see all of Meranda’s lessons on

The big eye-opener for me was Meranda’s use of Smore to organize and send out her lessons. is an online flyer design website.  I thought Smores were just a way to put out cute classroom newsletters. Not true! Meranda embedded images of Degas, a vocabulary check list and two instructional videos in this Smore.


Have you ever flipped a lesson?

Classroom Management in the Art Room

This year I tried a new classroom management system in the art room.  It worked so well I had to share it. If your classes are getting a little unruly as summer approaches, it maybe time to review your rules.

I have just six art room rules, which the students have to recite at the beginning of class. They are:

  • Rule #1: listen when your teacher is talking
  • Rule #2: follow directions quickly
  • Rule #3: work quietly
  • Rule #4: raise your hand
  • Rule #5: make smart choices
  • Rule #6: clean up after  yourself

During class, I observe both individual and whole class behavior. Both are recorded and sent to the classroom teacher using my art room support report.

art room management

The form makes it super-easy to record individual behaviors as they occur, both positive and negative. All of our support teachers (music, science, P.E., media center and computers) use similar reports, although they have different rules.

Individual behavior:


The section marked ‘Drops in the Bucket’ is for unsolicited extra-kind behaviors that make kids feel good. Helping struggling students or prepping work for a child who is absent are just two examples of behaviors. The entire staff gives out ‘drops’ which are then entered into a whole-school raffle for a prize. It is a really nice part of our school culture.


If a student breaks a rule, I just write down the child’s name and the rule number. A check means the student broke the rule more than once. Rule #5 (‘make smart choices’) covers a lot so I have to specify the behavior.

Group behavior: smileys and frownys

I draw a smiley face (positive) and a frowny face (negative) on the whiteboard, and keep a tally. I give out lots of smileys, generally for listening, sharing, hard work, asking good questions. The rare frowny is almost always for noise.

(This is working well – the smileys have trounced the frownys all year!)

At the end of class, I rate the class behavior  ‘coyote’ (best), ‘star’ (good) or ‘oops’ (unacceptable).

The classroom teachers reward or give consequences based on the rating.

I like this because:

  • It is very specific, both in the rules and who broke them
  • The classroom teacher can reward the vast majority of kids who follow all the rules
  • I can try new strategies with the few who do not
  • It helps me communicate with the teachers

I’m not going to lie – I learned this system from a post on the Teaching Palette. A huge thank you to Katie Jarvis, art teacher for developing these rules.

Want to try it? Here is my art room rules PowerPoint based on Ms. Jarvis’ system.



 Do you have rules or procedures that work well in the art room?



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...