SchoolArts Magazine

MAY 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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M A N A G I N G T H E A R T R O O M Nolan Wright, grade three. I am a strong believer that learning should be fun as well as engaging. Using humor is one of my favor - ite teaching tools. I use humor to make my classes memorable and to connect with the hundreds of children in my art program. When students and teachers can laugh together, it helps build a community, creates a positive classroom culture, and eases anxiety. Humor is a pathway to learning. Humor helps students retain content from previous lessons, perhaps les- sons they had weeks before. So how can you start using humor in your artroom? Here are some easy ideas to help get you started: Add a Meme Like it or not, we are teaching a gen- eration of students hypnotized by screens. One favorite form of com - munication is a meme. A meme is a humorous altered image or video shared among internet users. I add memes to my slide presentations and display them around the room. A variety of easy-to-use meme genera - tor apps are available online. Memorable Transitions Younger students have artroom cen- ters. Rotations and clean-up time are prompted by silly movements. This is when I demonstrate a funny movement that students imitate. For clean-up time, I play ten seconds of a popular time-related song such as "The Final Countdown" by Europe or "Bye Bye Bye" by *NSYNC. Laugh at Yourself Our jobs are unique and sometimes a little ridiculous, so it's best to keep a sense of humor about things. I once leaned on a small table in the center of my artroom only to have the legs go out from under it, causing me to crash to the floor. The class was shocked and silent until I emerged from the rubble laughing hysteri - cally. Laughter is contagious. Use Branding Objects in my artroom have specific silly names that are exclusive to the artroom. These silly names tend to foster community. For example, clean- up cloths are called "uh-oh rags." Good Googly Moogly I put googly eyes on almost every- thing in the artroom. Students get a kick out of using the pencil sharpener with eyes. Those students with vivid imaginations often give inanimate objects human emotions and then vocalize their ideas: "Don't yank on the projector screen, it will hurt him." Funny Stories about Artists I tell funny stories about each artist we study and incorporate them into my presentations. Students love the story about Georgia O'Keeffe bring - ing a horse into her classroom, or Andy Warhol being a bigger attrac - tion than the animals when visiting the Bronx Zoo. Dress Up I have a huge collection of DIY cos- tumes. I pick a student or two to dress up like the artist we are study - ing, or I dress myself up to match the lesson. In one of my favorite lessons, students dress up in crazy outfits and draw silly self-portraits. Act It Out When teaching, I often act out events in art history. I slip on a "rob - ber mask" and steal the Mona Lisa off my wall and hide it under a table for my kindergarten French detec - tives to find. They all go home and tell their parents about how Mona went missing. Make a Parody We often check if the art we are study- ing has been parodied by other artists, or draw parodies of the art ourselves. I also look for filters for the iPad or iPhone in which you can use your own face in famous pieces of art. You don't have to have kids roll- ing on the floor laughing every day, but the slightest addition of humor can greatly help you connect with your students and create an enjoy - able and memorial experience for all in your classroom. Kathryn Vaughn is an art teacher at Brighton Elementary School in Brighton, Tennessee. kdinuzzo @ Humor in the Artroom Kathryn Vaughn The slightest addition of humor can greatl el ou connect wit our students and create an enjo able and memorial experience. 12 MAY 2018 SchoolArts

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