Welcome to the middle school zone

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When people learn I teach middle school art, the response I frequently hear is “Oh, I’m sorry, I could never teach middle schoolers.” When my full time elementary art position was cut & I was moved khổng lồ my current position teaching middle school art, I thought the same thing.

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After some years of experience, & a lot of trial và error, I finally feel like I can teach middle schoolers. I might go as far to say I actually love teaching middle schoolers. (Yikes, I never thought I’d say that!) They’re independent, yet they still need me. They can create more detailed và difficult art projects than elementary students yet have the same excitement when I introduce a new material. On the other hand, there is their new found interest in themselves, sports, technology, và the opposite sex. Sometimes, these things get in the way of learning & create management problems in the classroom.

Here are 7 strategies khổng lồ help you manage middle schoolers in the art room.

1. Create a system for getting students attention that you use EVERY time.

For example, when I want to lớn get my students attention, I say “If I could have your attention in… five… four… three… two… one, hands free… eyes on me.” This gives students roughly eight to ten seconds (depending on how fast I say it) lớn give me their attention. I say “hands free, eyes on me” because a lot of my students continue working or keep their writing utensils in their hands & “beat” on their desks while I’m talking. This phrase reminds them lớn empty their hands. Using the same phrase over và over again helps create consistency.

2. Stop, stare và smile.

When I’m giving directions or teaching, và students are having sidebar conversations, I say, “I’m going to wait a couple seconds because some people are talking, and what I have khổng lồ say is important.” Then I literally stop teaching, stare và smile at the student(s) talking until they get quiet.

3. Call or thư điện tử parents.

No students want their parents to know if they’re not following directions, especially if it means they might loose privileges to công nghệ devices or other personal freedoms. Create consistent consequences in your classroom. Since middle schoolers talk khổng lồ each other, when you’re consistent, news spreads quickly.

4. Talk lớn extracurricular activity và sports coaches.

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The coaches in my school are very supportive và understand that academics come first. Sometimes what I try doesn’t work, so I have to call for backup. Sometimes all it takes is a coach benching a student for his or her behavior lớn improve in class.

These 7 tips will go a long way in getting you started on the right foot with your middle schoolers. If you’re looking for even more in-depth info, we’ve got you covered. Take a look at the Managing Middle Schoolers PRO Learning Pack. You’ll learn how to lớn better connect with your students, phối clear expectations, và maintain a classroom that is fair & consistent. If you’re just starting at the middle school level, you can also dig into Surviving Your First Year of Middle School Art for more helpful advice!

5. Use positive support.

When you talk to lớn your students, try to stay positive, not negative. For example, at the end of the class, every time the bell rings I say “thank you for pushing in your chair” instead of “push in your chairs please.” Keeping it positive gives the students a compliment and also helps remind those students who forgot without nagging them. It never fails, students who forgot khổng lồ push in their chairs go back & push them in after I say thank you.

6. Establish opening procedures.

My students know when they come into my classroom, they bởi vì one of two things. If there is an art history image on the board they get out their art history journals & start journaling. If there is nothing on the board, they sit down and wait for me lớn take attendance. This allows them lớn calm down after an unstructured và sometimes rowdy four minute passing time.

7. Don’t embarrass students.

When students act up, the last thing you want to bởi is embarrass them in front of their peers. They get defensive và it makes the situation worse. They also are much less apt to lớn apologize & admit their mistakes. When a student acts out, I say something like, “Cassidy, will you please go out in the hall, I will talk lớn you shortly.” Then I give them some time alone to lớn reflect & calm down.

Overall, my best advice for managing middle schoolers is to reflect on what is & isn’t working. It’s all about trial và error. What works for me, might not work for you. Remember, if you’re having trouble with classroom management; consistency is key.

What strategies bởi you have for managing middle schoolers?

Share your best classroom management tip in the comments below!


Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.