Sunday, May 7, 2017

Transitions in the Art Room: Direct Instruction

My last 2 posts discussed the transitions Meet and Greet followed by Attendance, Now we get to the meat of the class - direct instruction. This portion of the class should take approximately 5 - 10 minutes depending on lesson. I liked to use the minute per year old scale to keep it short and simple. Kinder attention span varies from 4 - 6 minutes. 5th graders can handle 10 - 12 min.

What it looks like: students in assigned places, hands and feet to self
What it sounds like: voices off unless responding to teacher, body quiet

This portion of class can include a lot of visuals:
national/state/district Visual Art standards
content and language objectives posted and referred to during teaching
illustrated step-by-step procedures
illustrated vocabulary words
PowerPoint/Keynote presentations

Those visuals need to be set-up in advance. With today's scheduling nightmares (no time between classes), it's best if you can make charts that can be switched out easily. I know some students who have been trained by their teachers, to post objectives, directions, etc. as soon as the class enters the room. While you are taking attendance, one or two kids can quickly find what you want posted, put it where it belongs and get to their seats by the time instruction starts. I suggest you train 2 or 3 to begin with - once everyone sees it being done correctly, repeatedly, others can earn the privilege as the year goes on. At the end of class, these same students quickly put things away. When you are training your first group of students to do this, choose students who always like to be the 'boss', who are always concerned with getting things just right and can follow directions the FIRST time. Hopefully these are also the ones who finish regular assignments on time or early.

Of course, some of you have the luxury of HUGE classrooms! You may have room to permanently post these visual resources, only occasionally switching them out.

To begin direct instruction, I usually reviewed, through questioning or student to student discussion, what happened in last class IF it was a continuing project. Next, introduce ALL the information needed for today's lesson. Once students get materials in their hands, it will be extremely difficult to get their attention again.

I often moved on to a hands-on demo during direct instruction to show exactly what would be done and tools/materials necessary for completion. Some of my colleagues would do this seamlessly by using a doc camera or other technology that would not require students to leave their places. My classroom was not setup for these methods so I'll talk in my next post how I set up hands-on demos. Regardless of your methods, Direct Instruction WITH a hands-on demo should not exceed a total of 15 minutes and less than 10 min. is ideal, especially for your youngest students.

It would be great for my readers if you would list below what YOU include in your direct instruction section of your lessons.

Next up: the Hands-On Demo component of Art class.

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