In the Art Room

The Squirrely Students

I have a really squirrely group of second graders this year. It’s a struggle to get a quarter of them to do any work, let alone stay on task for more than ten minutes at a time. I’ve played the authority figure, “You need to get to work now.”  I’ve tried reasoning with them, “If you don’t do your work, how can I give you a grade for this project?”  I’ve tried the Responsive Classroom approach, “What should you be doing right now?”  I’ve tried pleading with them, “Pleeease go back to your seat and work.”  Finally, on this day, when the little squirrels were all fueled up on cupcakes, chocolate and candy, I gave up. I was done fighting with them. It was too much, and I caved.
It started with just one student, and soon after, another, and then another, and then I found I just couldn’t stop. I heard myself telling each student, “Why don’t you take a break, and go grab a book to read.”  The look of immense relief that crossed each student’s face upon hearing those words was… shocking and disheartening. 
Wait a minute. You would rather  read than do art? You would rather quietly read a book than create fantastical landscapes and chitchat with your neighbors?  
What is wrong with you kids?
On the other hand, I’m sure the reading teacher would be thrilled to hear this. 
Happy Halloween.
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4 thoughts on “The Squirrely Students

  1. To this day I can do the most amazing project (in my opinion of course) and I will still have half the class rushing so they can do free draw or sweep my floors?!?! I just don't get it sometimes.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree! The younger ones (K-5) are especially anxious to finish and either “free draw” or “read” one of the World's Greatest Artists books. Now I ask them to draw a work of art from the WGA books, instead of a free draw. I'm also making some “art flash cards”, so they can educate themselves on art history and make a game out of it too! They'll be learning and won't realize it! I've got tons of art post cards and I've got some old art history books that have seen better days, so I'm using those images too. Sounds like we've all got the same thins going on in our rooms. Have a great year! Cynthia

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  3. You too?!?!? My second graders this year are just so OFF… I feel like I accomplish more with my kinders this year than the 2nd graders! PS- Love, love, love the humor blog!

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