Sunday, November 30, 2014

Art Centers for Extended Learning

As art teachers we all know our students never ALL finish at the same time. I needed to have something available for them to do when some were finished and other children were still working. It occurred to me  have some activities ready for them.  At first, all I had was a drawing center and some books. 

 I soon realized that there were too many children competing for space and I needed to put more thought into it. As I was trying to figure things out – I was offered a Lego table. That would be perfect. 

 Now at that time I had students at 4 different tables in my room and felt I needed a center for each table so that students had room to work.  Lego table made 3. 
I still needed one more center –then I remembered seeing centers in another art room and that teacher had plasticine. So I thought I could have a Play Doh center.
The drawing center wasn't very appealing so I needed to fixed it up. I added several baskets of drawing sheets from the series: How to Draw 101 Animals, Monsters, Manga Characters, Super Heroes etc. I photocopied and laminated each of the pages from the books onto a different colored paper to be able to keep everything organized.  I added stencils and tracers, paper, basket of pencils and clipboards.
 The reading center also needed to be improved. Having books on shelves proved to be a problem as students couldn’t really see them and books weren’t being put back the right way. At the time there was a big push for classroom libraries and I was able to get bins from the reading specialist to set up this center. I also added puzzles and blocks to this center.

It occurred to me if I didn’t come up with a system for students to rotate they would all end up at Legos. What I did originally, is I printed out signs for each center. I now had a reading and puzzle center, a drawing center, a Lego center and a Play Doh center. 
 (This photo is from how it looks now……don’t have any from when I first did this.) I put the signs at the top of my white board and placed colored clips on them that represented the tables in my room. Students go to the center that matched their table according to the clip on the sign. I added photographs for the students who needed the visual representation.

Centers were working out rather well or so I thought. Two things happened that made me re-evaluate. 1-older students were doing a lot of fooling around. 2-Admin was implementing a Response To Intervention Program or RTI, to take place the first 20 minutes of specials. That's when I present my lesson and now students would be missing. Soooo do centers first! 

What about the older students? I had all these interesting books about artists and all these wonderful Scholastic Magazines that students were not looking at. I had all these artist reproduction posters that I never had the time to share and so much more that I wanted my students to learn about. And that is how I came up with the learning stations for my older students.

The space that I use for art centers double as my learning stations or what I like to call my Learn Abouts.  There is Learn About an Artist, Learn About an Art Career, Learn About Vocabulary and Learn About Artwork center.

Older students Learn About Artists by taking out a book or magazine from the bin and responding in writing on a worksheet. 

In Learn About Careers there are cards from the series Careers for Kids –ART.  Students read about a career and fill out a worksheet. Some have inter-actives with it.

Learn About Vocabulary has a poster filled with words for the students to pick from. They write the word down on a worksheet, define it, draw a picture of it and tell me how an artist might use it.
Learn about Artwork has an art poster hanging up for students to answer questions and write about. I have since changed to hanging up postcards of famous art to give students more of a choice.

My students have been enjoying the centers for a few years now. I was able to present My Art Centers for Extended Learning at the FAEA and NAEA conferences. Feeling brave, I have opened a store at Teachers Pay Teachers where I have posted for FREE a suggested list of Art Centers for primary and intermediate students.  

Centers in art have been very popular. If you have centers, how are yours set up? And, if you don't have centers, was my blog or suggestion sheet helpful to you? Thanks for Reading!


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