First Day of School in a Choice Based Art Room

On the first day of school, I welcome the kids into the room and we practice where to sit and how to enter the art room. In my class, we start sitting on the carpet every day so we start by practicing getting there quickly and quietly.  Then I move into a little slideshow about me and how the art room runs- then I jump into 3 simple expectations for the Art Studio.  

Mine looks like this:                                       

As a class, we sit on the carpet and chat about what examples of each expectation might look or sound like in the art room. I type notes on the Slide as they discuss, and I print the last slide so they can go to their seats and write down their thoughts.  This paper gets glued into their sketchbook to help them remember if needed.  The slideshow I use can be found here. 

Next up is a Scavenger Hunt so the kids practice finding and using important items in the art room.  This is a great way to get kids moving and creating and it also is an investment in not hearing, "Where are the scissors?  Where are the rulers? etc etc" over and over again over the course of the year.

I like to print this one in A3 size and the kids can work alone or in pairs to complete it. If you'd like to copy and edit mine, it's located here.

Over the next few lessons, I will have the kids do a few other activities.  One of them is a Pre-Assessment so I can see where they are (they will draw a small portrait and a landscape) and assess their growth at the end of the year.  The next sheet is an "About Me" activity that I use to get to know the kids better. And finally, I created a sheet for my older kids (Grade 3+) where they can create lists of topics that are interesting to them so that over the course of the year if they need ideas, they can refer back to it.  Links to all of my First Day of Art sheets can be found here.

I always want the focus to be on actually making art during each lesson so I will slowly roll these out over the first month.  The first center I open is the Drawing Center, and once they use it responsibly I will open the Painting Center.  The best way I have found to open these is through "Draw Around the Room" or "Paint Around the Room". so everyone gets practice taking out and putting away the materials and also exploring techniques.  You can check out Cynthia Gaub's blog for examples of how to do this.

Best of luck setting up for your upcoming school year!!


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