If you're like me, you find yourself looking at the calendar in disbelief right about now. I am always amazed at how crazy the end of the school year is and how crazy the summer can be. If you put those two factors into the mix, you find yourself going into overdrive! Don't get me wrong, I've been working on things for my classroom all summer. Let's face it, my summer pace is much different and there is not that sense of urgency that you feel in August!
I'm very excited about this next year! I feel I learned a lot this last year and I've got so many ideas of how to make things better for my students and better for the adults in the room.
I've read a couple of books that have really made me look at everything I do in the classroom. I think the number one thing I need to work on is making sure every student gets the time they need. That means the adults in the room need to slow down and give everyone the processing/responding time they need when they are creating their artwork. I worked very hard to stress the importance of letting the students do the work, even if they need asistance. But I feel there is more that can be done. It is so important that the choices the students make in art are really their choices.
I know, I found myself trying to help students to 'hurry along' with choices when we were creating artwork and I saw others trying to hurry along the students. Why? Why do we allow ourselves to get caught up in some arbitrary deadline for finishing a piece. Artists typically decide when a piece is complete. My student artists deserve to have the time they need. This means that not everyone will finish at the same time. That shouldn't be a problem.
When you come to my art room, I hope you see my students all aiming for the same destination, but arriving via different vehicles. I need to find a balance between teaching new skills and mediums and allowing students time to explore. I'm especially concerned about making every effort to afford opportunities for my non-verbal students to make choices. I don't know what this looks like exactly, but I'm thinking there will be a combination of ideas from TEEACH and TAB, using IEP Bins, Work Bins, and Activity Folders, as well as a Today in Art folder that is unique for each student.