I have 550 students, grades 5-8. It’s my 2nd year in the school district and let’s be honest, any teacher can relate to the pain of remembering names. Especially with the students you see once every six school days…it can be hard. So what’s a great way to get the attention of a class, a table in any situation? Simple. Name your tables and learn the names of your students as you go. I learned this trick from other art teachers but it still makes me stress when I walk into another art teacher’s room and see her rely on student rosters only. I can’t even imagine. I tend to know my 7th and 8th graders’ names within the first couple weeks since I see them every day – especially my 8th graders but those 5th and 6th graders fall behind. I don’t like them thinking it’s personal so the table names really help. I have six tables and currently have them namedafter artists. Specifically, I have “Cassatt”, “Monet”, “Picasso”, “Van Gogh”, “O’Keeffe”, and “Pollock”. Last year it varied some more and this year I’ll be discarding “Monet” and replacing it with “Kandinsky”. This makes more sense since my 5th graders learn of Kandinsky and my 6th graders learn of O’Keeffe.
Anywhoot. This solution helps when students are disruptive or it’s time to proceed within the scheduled time onto something new. When I don’t know the disruptive student or any of the students quite yet, I can call “Monet” table and they are at attention. It also prompts students to ask questions about the artists and remember things about concepts learned. Furthermore, it helps for set up and clean up because they know they are a team, things get done faster. When I end my class, I can call on a table to answer a key point for the day and they line up. It creates a good work environment and helps students socialize constructively. I also have my artists under a certain color so if we want to mix it up, we can pay attention to that color.
My goal is to make some more professional looking signs and strongly tie them into my curriculum somehow. It’s a work in progress but until then, this really works.