art made easy 150 5 unconventional ways to connect with your students

5 Unconventional Ways to Connect with your Students: AME 150



Do you sometimes feel that there is a spark missing from your art room? Maybe your students are acting bored, apathetic or disruptive?

Don’t throw out your behavior management plan just yet. All you might need is a change in how you engage with your students.

Here are my favorite – and slightly unconventional ways – to connect with your students so your art room is engaging, happy and fun.

1. Get to know your students

There is always a story behind the struggle and sometimes the most gentle way to show a child you care is to sit and ask them about their day/interest/hobbies.

2. Become aware of personality profiles

Even younger children demonstrate a tendency towards a certain personality: who is the team player, who is the perfectionist, who is bossy, who demands attention. Play into these strong traits with humor, affection and acceptance.

3. Aim to connect with 1-2 kids each class

Pick out 2 kids per class with whom you will sit with and give attention. Sometimes, this act allows you to really see a child for who they are.

4. Practice the Clean Slate Model

In my mind, this is a game-changer for building trust, authority and compassion. If you have a classroom behavior plan and implement it, making sure to use the Clean Slate Model afterwards is essential.

5. Help kids be responsible for contributing to the class dynamics

Determine who gets to help with prep or clean up or who gets to be the model for portrait demonstrations. Showcase or hi light a student’s work of art. Develop a practice of critiquing each others works with kindness and curiosity. Anything that can build on the team dynamics of a class contributes to its overall effectiveness.



Books mentioned in this podcast episode:

Classroom Management for Art, Music and PE Teachers by Michael Linsin: https://amzn.to/32t0qVx

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile: https://amzn.to/2Pq41OI

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  • micheleholden4

    I loved this podcast. I am teaching a grade 5/6 class and am also an artist. I am creating a new website and art blog and series of paitings. You have reminded me of how important it is to make those personal connections with my students. I do this but could do better. I wonder how I can bring more of what I do in my own studio to classroom teaching. What do you do with students who are “too cool” for the fun art lessons like yours?

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