Building a Kinesthetic Classroom (Part 2)

Building a kinesthetic classroom via Wonder Teacher

In my previous post, I shared the first part of my interview with featured Wonder Teacher, Stacey Shoecraft. She is passionate about the power of movement to help her students achieve. Today Stacey talks about her journey from movement breaks to a 100% kinesthetic classroom.

Susan: How did you transition from basic movement breaks to bigger ideas about movement? [Read more…]

The Kinesthetic Classroom featuring Stacey Shoecraft

Kinesthetic Classroom Meet featured Wonder Teacher, Stacey Shoecraft!

Stacey is a fantastic and energetic 5th grade teacher, and she is passionate about providing her students with kinesthetic learning experiences. I interviewed Stacey to find out how and why she became so dedicated to getting her students moving. I also wanted to learn more about the unique furniture in her classroom.

Susan: This room is amazing! What have you got in here? [Read more…]

A Teacher’s Perspective on Managing Arts Integration

Yesterday I introduced you to my latest Featured Wonder Teacher, Chrissy Greenman. Today I bring you Part 2 of her interview, in which we discuss management, planning, and “having it all.”

You are a wife, mom, horse owner, scrapbooker, top-notch teacher, and more! How do you do it all? 

(Chrissy laughs.) Well, I think the answer to that question is that you can always find time to do what you love. When something is important to you, you just make a way.

I also think you can put systems in place that make your life run more smoothly on a daily basis.

A Teacher's Perspective on Managing Arts Integration

Arts Integration does NOT equal a messy, disorganized classroom. This snapshot of a corner of Chrissy’s room proves that you can be neat and organized while also maintaining a warm, creative atmosphere..

Chrissy’s tips:

1-  Be organized, at school and at home. I have lots of routines in place that help me stay on top of cooking, cleaning, planning for school, scrapbooking, etc.

2- Use teamwork. You can make your load so much lighter at school if you work collaboratively with your fellow grade-level teachers. There are always ways to “share the planning” and support each other.

3- Plan ahead. Planning the night before, or even the week before, isn’t enough. I plan weeks in advance so that I have plenty of time to collect ideas, find books, gather materials, etc. The kind of teaching I want to do can’t just be thrown together at the last minute. I am always thinking about my next unit (or two!) to make sure I’m ready.

4- Gather materials in advance. Similar to #3, organizing your materials and having them at your fingertips is a big part of my organization system. This is especially true if you want to do visual art projects. It’s very difficult if your paints and brushes are on a high shelf or at the back of a cluttered closet. I think carefully about how I store my materials so that I can grab them at a moment’s notice.

Teacher Organization

Another corner of the room (located behind teacher desk) is where Chrissy stores her teaching files. She has grouped them in baskets by month/theme and packs units and lessons in large envelopes along with materials lists, master copies, and literature. Everything she needs is at her fingertips!

5-  Find and use good resources- There is so much good information out there these days- it’s just a matter of finding it. I use Pinterest, blogs, Teachers Pay Teachers, etc. (Here are some of Chrissy’s favorite professional resources:)

Professional Books:

The Power of Pictures

Moon Journals: Writing, Art, and Inquiry Through Focused Nature Study

Web-Based Resources:

Deep Space Sparkle

Splish Splat Splatter Art

Kids Artists

Art Projects for Kids

Teachers Pay Teachers Sellers:

Deanna Jump

Babbling Abby– Especially “Fun with Firsties” back to school packet

6-  Maximize your time. My time is precious so I try to make the most of every moment. For example, I don’t chit-chat during my planning period- I work! When I go home I put schoolwork away and focus on my family. After my kids are in bed, I spend some time thinking about school again and planning for my next unit, or work on my hobby. I am very intentional about how I spend my time.

7-  Teach what you love. I have learned that if I am really excited about my plans for school, the “work” will be enjoyable and my children will pick up on my excitement. I love horses, so that has led me to create a new unit on the Kentucky Derby. I’ve plugged in dozens of 1st grade standards and I have so many great ideas that I can’t wait to get started! Planning for that doesn’t feel like drudgery- it feels like fun.

Classroom Photo Boards

Chrissy uses her love of scrapbooking and photography to document student learning experiences throughout the year. The photo boards become beloved displays. You can often find students standing together and revisiting 1st grade memories.

Do you have any specific management tips for visual art lessons in the regular classroom?

People often think I’m pulling kids back in small groups to do our visual art projects. They are shocked to find that I’ve actually got all of my students painting at the same time.

I think the secret is to plan ahead for procedures. Early in the year I taught the children about the materials, how they worked, and how to care for them. I modeled thoroughly and made my expectations clear. Now, in spring, we’re to the point where they hardly need me. They manage it! They know where to get oil pastels and paper. They know how to refresh their water and clean up. The children are very capable and independent once they know what to do. It’s great because it frees me to really focus on teaching and 1-on-1 conferencing rather than worrying about materials and clean-up.

If I was in charge of the teaching world…

I would want teachers to know that they don’t have to be “creative superstars” to integrate the arts. You don’t need special talent. You simply need a willingness to learn new teaching strategies and an adventurous spirit. You can learn right along with your children! By teaching through the arts, you become creative in ways you never thought possible!

One more shot of an awesome arts-integrated project hanging in Chrissy's room. Students created their own pigeon artwork during an author's study unit on Mo Willems. Notice how each pigeon is different and unique! The art project was connected to writing.

One more shot of a delightful arts-integrated project hanging in Chrissy’s room. Students created their own pigeon artwork during an author’s study unit on Mo Willems. Notice how each pigeon is different and unique! The art project was also integrated with writing.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...