How to Teach a Middle School ART Class in 50 Easy Steps

How to Teach a Middle School ART Class in 50 Easy Steps

  1. Spend 5 hours on Pinterest trying to find the next “cool enough for middle schoolers” art project.
  2. Write a lesson plan.
  3. Gather endless number of specialty art supplies and consumable materials, while you worry about your budget running out before the end of the year.
  4. Write your agenda on the board.
  5. Stand at the door to greet students in the hallway.
  6. Run back inside because you hear a student screaming.
  7. Stop two students from throwing wet clay balls at the ceiling to see if they will stick.
  8. Go back in hallway to greet students.
  9. Tell student to stop running.
  10. Run down hallway unironically to catch and punish student running student.
  11. Walk back to classroom with hands on head, inhaling deeply.
  12. Go inside classroom when bell rings.
  13. Begin to talk to class about today’s plan.
  14. Remind students to get out sketchbooks for warm-up and to not sharpen pencils while you are talking.
  15. Stop mid-sentence to write down the names of two tardy students who walk in the door on a Post-It note.
  16. Ask reliable student what you were talking about before you lost your train of thought.
  17. Continue with your debrief and move on to warm-up.
  18. While students are doing warm-up, log in to online attendance to mark students tardy.
  19. Attempt to find the Post-It note among the 1,205,281 Post-Its currently on your desk.
  20. Go over the warm-up with students.
  21. Begin modeling new art technique under document camera projected on the board.
  22. Field student questions and comments, including, “Why don’t you ever paint your nails?” and “YOU’RE GOING TOO FAST!” and “Who farted?”
  23. Have students try new art technique
  24. While students are working, glance at email and see several red exclamation point emails.
  25. Cry a little inside.
  26. Go over answers.
  27. Realize that 11 of your 35 students aren’t showing mastery and have them move to the front to re-demonstrate the art technique.
  28. Direct the remaining students to move on to the independent art project.
  29. Alternate between teaching your small group, answering questions from big group, and reminding big group to be working quietly 8,391 times.
  30. Send student to bathroom because you’re out of Kleenex.
  31. Tell student to use Scotch tape because you’re out of Band-Aids.
  32. Answer the phone and tell office manager you’re so sorry, you’ll take attendance right now.
  33. Look up and see two students having light saber wars with stacked markers, one student texting, and another student crying.
  34. In one fluid motion, confiscate marker sabers and texting student’s phone.
  35. Gently tell student who is crying to join you in the hall.
  36. Listen and console as crying student tells you about break-up.
  37. Give student a hug and send to bathroom.
  38. Go back inside.
  39. Give students reminder of time left to work independently.
  40. Yell “PANICKING LEADS TO IMMINENT DEATH” when students scream as fire drill alarm goes off.
  41. While taking students outside, remind them to be silent and to walk 8 bazillion times.
  42. Chat with other teachers while you wait for all-clear announcement to come back inside.
  43. Chastise student for giving piggy back rides back to the classroom.
  44. As you reenter, discover water overflowing from your sinks clogged with dirty paint brushes because the water was left on during the fire drill.
  45. Try to clean up floor with newspaper since all the Kleenex and paper towels are gone.
  46. Tell students to finish independent work.
  47. Stop in time to get students to clean up, but remind them 5 times to stop working and clean-up.
  48. Literally run to your computer to take attendance before you get another email about it.
  49. Actually take attendance this time.
  50. When bell sounds, dismiss students, tell them you love them, and encourage them to make good choices.

Adapted from

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1 Response to How to Teach a Middle School ART Class in 50 Easy Steps

  1. Sara Underhill says:

    This is hilarious and amazingly true! I teach 8th grade art as well as high school and you’ve hit the nail on the head right here.
    I also want to say that I’ve been reading your blog for a while as I’ve been transitioning to TAB and it has been SO HELPFUL for my middle schoolers. THANK YOU for sharing your research, resources and goods and bads on each lesson. I’ve tried a few “Around the Room” activities, plan to do a few more and want to plan a Printmaking version.
    Thanks again, and happy arting!

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