Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Practical Guide to Being an Art Docent

Create a stress-free Art experience for our children by being well prepared.
Helpful Things to Consider
1) Choose your lesson (from blog, internet, wherever source you choose) at least a week before you are to teach the lesson. Completely READ THE LESSON and try making a sample. Please do not wait until the last minute – over breakfast in the morning, for example, does NOT allow enough time to prepare to teach our children the same day.
2) Become familiar with the Art Cabinet in the office conference room and in the teacher mail room (back of the wall, the lower shelves) where our supplies are located. Plan to check your needed supplies well in advance.
3) Familiarize yourself with how the projector and computer works. Most of the teachers have laptops and projectors in their rooms, so you can simply email them a copy of the powerpoint. It's probably a good idea to try this a day or so before your lesson, so you know it works. There are many images provided for each lesson in the format of powerpoint presentations. Feel free to add more if you are so inspired!
4) Again - do a practice sample at home. Find out what works and what doesn’t by actually using the supplies ahead of time. This is great to do with your kids at home.
5) Know what you are going to say and how you will say it. Rehearse your lesson. Make some notes to yourself. Practice in front of the mirror if necessary. The lesson plans don't give you a script, per se, of what to say, so you need to be prepared in your mind.
6) Study, and learn the topic you are about to teach. is a great resource for information. So is the public library. If you like, bring in additional resources.
7) Dress the part. What did Picasso wear? A straw hat perhaps?
8) Plan what classroom control techniques you’ll use. Find out from the classroom teachers what techniques they use. Ask your own kids what works in their classes.
For example:
- One, Two, Three, Eyes on me. (Kids say, One, Two, Eyes on You).
- Lights out
- Clap Clap, Clap Clap Clap. (Students repeat exactly).
- Stop the music if you have background music playing.
9) If teaching in front of a classroom makes you nervous, do it with someone else! Take turns speaking, and resting. Having another teacher to fill in the gaps that you might forget and alleviates some of the anxiety associated with talking to a captive audience.
10) Get excited about the lesson and your enthusiasm will be contagious to the kids too. Art is meant to be fun and enjoyable, and we are after all, volunteers! You don’t have to be perfect. Remember that for the children, we should emphasize the creative PROCESS rather than the product. And you have the added benefit of learning a little something yourself at the same time.
Adapted from “Tips for Teaching Art at Duniway Elementary”,

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