Blog

Creative First Day of School Solutions

1st day of school

Every teacher and their dog has their “expectations” for the classroom, but there are a few things that I like to do on the first day of school to get the kids oriented to my art classroom.

These tips are geared toward high school students, but some of these could be implemented for younger kids as well.

  1. Syllabus. Obviously, you have to go over your expectations for the year. Nothing could be more important then letting the kids know what will and will not tolerated in your class and how you will be grading them. 
  2. Name Tag. After the boring part of your first class is done, I like to let them do a little drawing on their drawer name tag. Some of them will really get into it, others will just write their name and call it a day. At this point, I do not push them. At this stage in the game, I don't judge, and I certainly don't grade!
  3. Drawing Game. There are several drawing games that I keep in my arsenal, but the one that I like to do on the first day is called, "Draw it, Pass it." I like to do this one because it works well with both large and small classes, and it is incredibly easy to explain. Simply give every student a piece of paper and a pencil, then set a timer for 30 seconds or a minute. Start the timer and tell the students to draw anything they want.  When the timer goes off, have them stop, pass the paper to their left, and add the the drawing. Continue drawing and passing until each person has their original drawing. View the results!
  4. Be yourself. This was one of the biggest mistakes that I made my first year. I wanted my class to know who was boss! Rules! Rules! Rules! I am certainly not saying that I am a pushover, my students know what I expect, I am just saying that you need to let them get to know you. Talk to them about your life, ask them about theirs. Whenever possible, be their teacher and their friend. 

My first day of school was last week on Thursday (I cannot believe how early we start!) and we had so little time due to assemblies, so I did not get to do the drawing game. I was exhausted when I got home...but that is to be expected. Especially considering that I am up at 4 or 5 every morning with my 8 month old son.

*sigh* Someday I will sleep in again...

Did you have your first day of school yet? Do you have any special or different procedures that you follow? Let me know in the comments!

What is Creativity?

creativity

Creativity. It is to art (and life) as chocolate is to milk. If art lacks creativity, it's only a pretty picture to hang on the refrigerator. Pretty pictures are nice, but a creative artwork is worth so much more.

Creativity is essential!
Creativity is essential!

You know you have made something creative when people actual stop to look at your work, rather than glance at it, then walk past it to look at the next pretty picture. When they bring a friend over to talk about it, you may have made something creative. When you have put part of yourself into the artwork so that you actually don't want to part with it, your creativity shows.

I feel that creativity is essential every artwork that I make, in the decisions I make, even in the way I approach each day. My goal in life is to live in a way that makes people wonder. I want them to wonder why I do what I do, and depending on my mood, I either tell them or I cock my head to the side and say, "What do you think?" (It's a teacher thing.)

I am not saying that making something pretty is a bad thing. I am saying that it is definitely not as good as creating something that shows how one feels and thinks. And it is my passion to always create with this in mind. Yes, it takes more time. True, it is not always easy, but it is always, always worth it!

Everyone can benefit from being a little more creative, no matter what they do or want to do. As an art teacher, creativity a major grade I give. I feel that if I can inspire a creative thought in another person, then perhaps I can open a door to some locked vault inside them. I know that sounds corny, but that’s how I feel.

I expect students to be creative in the work that they turn in, and I expect nothing less of the teacher! I have started this blog and website to create and produce tools that will help teachers and students become more creative and to have discussions with others as to how to inspire creativity.

If you don’t have creativity, there’s no use in creating anything!

Join me in exploring this fascinating topic. I plan to make sketchbooks/workbooks, read books about creativity and write reviews, and I am hoping to have conversations with like-minded people that will help me become a better teacher and a more creative artist.

As I gear up for the school year to start, I have been thinking a lot about how to inspire creativity in my students. I have created a creativity journal which I will be sharing on this blog soon. It is a carefree exercise which I have not even decided if I am going to grade yet. I don't want them to feel obligated to make things perfect to get the grade...but at the same time, I do want them to do it! I will let you know what I decide when the time comes.

Comment below if you have a sure-fire way of inspiring people to become more creative.

Be Creative Today!