Create a smooth end-of-class transition by asking students creative questions once they are lined up.
Downloadable Question List: Circle Up Questions
Downloadable Blank Template: Circle Up Template
It is a balancing act, figuring how much time to give kids to clean-up at the end of art class! Too little time, and you’re left with a messy room and frustrated students. Too much time and you are standing around with an extra 5 minutes on your hand and a group of kiddos who might start misbehaving out of boredom. I was antsy to come up with a routine that would productively fill those last 2-3 minutes of class when we are lined up and waiting for our alarm that signals the end of art class.
I decided to create an end-of-class ritual that would get my students thinking creatively instead of requiring them to regurgitate facts.
I have done the usual “ask questions about the vocabulary or art history that we learned about this week…” Even when I tied it to incentives, my students quickly got bored and the routine felt monotonous. I decided to create an end-of-class ritual that would get my kids thinking creatively instead of requiring them to regurgitate facts.
During our in-service at the beginning of last year, the counselors presented the idea of circle time. For the homeroom classes, this is a way to have heart-to-heart talks and deal with behavior issues. I thought I might be able to change it a bit and use it as a way to wrap up art class.
I create a “line” that wrapped around my room in a circle. Each yellow arrow has a seat number written on it in Sharpie, so kids easily know where they need to line up. (I cover the arrows with packing tape so the Sharpie doesn’t wear off right away. They look pretty rough by the end of the year, but it does the trick!)
I created a list of questions that would spark my students’ imagination, help them get to know each other better as artists or just plain make them laugh! Last year I printed up a list of questions for each day of the week and posted it on my bulletin board. This year I printed blank pages that I can fill in at the beginning of our 6 day rotation. (I’m slowly learning to simplify!) As the year progresses, I think I’ll ask the kids to come up with their own questions and add them into the mix!
I created a list of questions that would spark my students’ imagination, help them get to know each other better as artists or just plain make them laugh!
Each day, our Artist of the Day pulls a number out of the cup. The kid standing on that number gets to hold the paintbrush (only the person with the brush gets to talk!) and answer the question. We repeat this process until it’s time to leave. Usually 2-5 kids get a turn to share; and I tell the ones that are super disappointed that they didn’t get to talk that they can tell me their answer as they walk out the door.
It has really changed the atmosphere of my classroom during those last few minutes. It has become such a special time that when a class runs out of time because they were slow cleaning up, I have students telling me how sad they are that we don’t get to do Circle Up that day!