I am so happy in my new position. I have ENOUGH planning time to ACTUALLY DO MY JOB. This is huge, because in past years I had very little prep time and was staying after school for at least an hour or more every day to catch up on grading, photographing work for artsonia, and hanging work in the halls. I've even, for the most part, had enough time to write my lesson plans while at school instead of bringing them home over the weekend. I'm happy and my family is happy because they actually get to see me and I'm not super stressed out all the time.
Middle Schoolers are funnyyyyyyyy. I love my kids and their questions and stories and jokes, and generally behavior has been pretty good. I've only given one demerit so far, and had to yell only 2-3 times. I haven't cried out of frustration or exhaustion. I've laughed a lot and worked through some difficult behaviors with a good sense of humor.
Also in middle school, I can expect them to do a lot more with writing, vocabulary, and image analysis. We've got a routine going called "Quiet 5", where they come in, get their sketchbooks, and immediately get started on a quick warm-up activity. It's really helped with behavior and learning concepts. Just hearing me say something does not instill it in their brains. But writing things down, and drawing examples is working, and I can tell because of the quality of their written reflections at the end of projects.
Here's a glimpse of what's been happening in My Blue Art Room (which isn't blue anymore, but whatever, it's lilac now but I'm not changing the title of my blog, so plbbbt!):
My 5th graders made a name collage ala Ellsworth Kelly by collaging the letters of their name, measuring a grid, cutting the pieces apart, then puzzling and collaging them back together in a random way. They learned about contrasting and complementary colors, We also talked about emphasis. Not everybody got that, but the student who made the one above did! She added the black diamond to make her letters feel pulled into the center. I took all the squares from a class and combined them into collaborative displays like the one below:
Here's a glimpse of what's coming down the pipeline: 5th grade colorwheel paintings, the grade 2 -pt perspective lego paintings, and 8th grade fake advertisements. Did I mention I actually have time to do things like make new exemplars?!!
And my favorite part is when my 8th grade portfolio prep group comes to visit me at lunchtime twice a week! We are currently doing pencil drawings of still-life objects. This crew is planning on applying to the Creative and Performing Arts High School which requires a portfolio audition, and I'm trying to give them time to prepare. They have to be done by December, which will be here before we know it.
I miss my little guys at the elementary school, but so far so good with middle school kids. (as long as I can manage to keep a straight face)