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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How 'baby dots' have been life changing in an art room!(could be yours too!)

Okay, so you're reading this and you're thinking, "Uh, what is she talking about? Baby dots? What?" The way you explain something, especially putting a positive spin on things, changes everything! For example. How many of you have this problem in your classroom: You use glue and that equals a) a big mess b) wasted glue! c) requires more clean up time for the messes and d) requires you to invest and plan ahead to order more glue (and take more out of your budget!). Glue sometimes can equal disaster. From the beginning of the year till now, I like to find creative, short effective ways that really stick in understanding procedure for students. So naturally in this case you think, Okay, I'll just tell the students to use less glue. 9 out of 10 times students don't really understand that concept, because what's less for someone isn't less for another student. They'll say, "What? I used less?" and it resembles something of big sloppy mess of a glue mountain or lake. So in other words, you need a constant. Something that is the same for everyone. When I talk about gluing, I introduced "baby dots". I SHOWED the students what tiny baby dots look like, included "no mom or dad dots are invited the party! Just the babies! Oh, and the babies, can't be next to each other, because if they do they start crying! Shhh, good baby dots." I say as I demonstrate on a project. I also say, "Whoops! Whoa! That was a big dot, I think it's Daddy dot! He's not invited?! Return to the baby dots. Shh, gooooood baby dots!". They laugh and remember. I also check for understanding the next few times by saying, okay time, for glue but who's invited to the party?!" STUDENTS: "Baby dots!" Then I'll say, shhh...don't wake the babies!Instead of saying "Whoa, that is too much glue!", I might say "Are those baby dots? They look a lot like daddy dots, or mama dots?" Students then relate that to size and know they have to go smaller. I now can estimate how many dots for attaching projects! For example, for Kindergarten, they needed to cut out a 2" square and attach it. I simply say, "How many baby dots do you think we should put on it? I think about 3 baby dots should work just fine! How many baby dots? STUDENTS: "3!" Then I say, "Shhhh, yes, but don't wake the babies!" They love it and remember.
I have found that this system works wonders and is a positive way of understanding! Because of following this. During clean up time, guess what? MESS ELIMINATED! Only washing small areas instead of scrubbing a whole table, and sometimes no mess at ALL! Less work for them & faster! I hardly have to fill glue bottles! Don't have to buy more extra gallons of glue!(I always need to have some on hand for big project though). The way you explain something really makes a difference!

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