Monday, August 27, 2012

Best Practices of the Stewardship Chart

Two years ago, I was three years into my teaching career and only one year into my art education teaching career and I had had enough cleaning up after my high school art students!!  I was doing an OK (enough) job at it but it didn't take me long to figure out that at some point good enough wouldn't be even close to enough and also - what in the world was I doing cleaning up after all of my students ANYway? Many of them were legal adults already but why is it that they were old enough to drive cars AND vote but they weren't cleaning and putting away their paintbrushes?

What it came down to was the problem was me. I was a brand new art teacher and still pretty much a greenhorn to the field of teaching on the whole and I was at fault for just plain never expecting them to clean up after themselves. Also, I was treating the art classroom like MY classroom/studio instead of regarding it as our classroom/studio. Once I accepted this problem as my own, I spurred to action to be a part of a solution rather than continuing to contribute to the problem and that's where the stewardship chart came into play.

Since starting the stewardship chart, it's been reasonably successful and those who are subject to it are willing enough to do as it dictates. Well... I mean, for the most part. There is ONE individual who kind of dreads it and has actually contributed (on the few times it has failed) to it not working in the classroom. That person? It's me.


Now, I am NOT proud of this at all. I mean, again, I am my own worst enemy. Easily I am almost like that sour patch kids commercial...

The only difference is that I am actually the sour patch kids to myself instead of there being a real sour patch kid doing this to me. (That, perhaps, would be maybe kind of awesome? But that is beside the point, right?) Anyway, as I was saying... the stewardship chart...

Basically, the once brilliant idea of a stewardship chart has quickly turned to one of my most dreaded tasks of classroom management. Why? Well, because...
  • EVERY semester, for sometimes as long as the first three weeks of class, I have to deal with making and re-making stewardship charts sometimes at the last minute because my class rosters change. Students jump sections, students quit art classes all together (not common but does happen), and students join classes once they hear from their friends how awesome art class is (I am delighted to report that this is a VERY common occurence)
  • The stewardship chart employs a rolling and constant rotation of jobs and for whatever reason, I use the same type of continuing rotation but it always gets messed up and then I get kids repeating jobs or just plain missing out on all of the "fun" *harharrHAR* of having any stewardship assignments at all. It's pilot error and I'm the pilot. *shrug*
  • I almost always forget (or just plain procrastinate) doing it on time and then printing it off and bringing it to class and then when I appear to be disorganized and unwilling to be consistent (because that IS what I look like when that happens!), the students don't keep up with what the stewardship chart says and they get all flaky and I can't help but agree with them it's OK to be that way since I was that way by not "practicing what I preach."
Obviously the stewardship chart idea needed a SERIOUS overhaul if I wanted to keep using it.

So, this summer, with all of my professional development and graduate school indulging, I committed myself to revamping the idea so that I was having the "best practice" in doing it so I wouldn't have to fore go it all together. With some inspiration and motivation from both Pinterest AND some awesome fellow art education bloggers, I was finally able to figure out something workable for my specific classroom needs. Thank goodness I am a natural hoarder *ahem* I mean... keeper and collector of many things from my past that have loooooong shelf lives. The old white board I used to have hanging in my very first apartment post college? I just happened to still have it in a dark corner of my home studio and it is the PERFECT thing for me to make a modular type stewardship board with job labels and nameplates made from painted craft sticks. And also? The divided cardboard packaging from a class set of Big Kids Choice brushes is completely made for a second go round to hold the craft stick nameplate holders while they lay in wait for their term in the stewardship rotation.

Because the frame was a little dinged up and I wanted it to look a little more colorful, I had the notion to paint it but I changed my mind because after I gridded out the chart with decorative (splatter paint) duct tape, I just took it a little further and covered the frame in duct tape as well!! What a quick and easy alternative to taping out the white board so I could paint the frame.

Once I got the chart actually taped up completely, I got to work on the nameplates making sure that each class was color coded - so it was easy to see at-a-glance what individual or class was responsible for the messes that are made by, "... NOT ME." (I have never met this individual, "Not Me," but they are somehow always to blame for every mess in class. Hmmm...) Something else I did? I made a current week column as well as a following week column so the people who are up for stewardship next have a heads-up.

While I know there is plenty of room for me to still be lazy with doing the stewardship assignments and classroom clean-up management in this way, I feel like this way will at least be a LOT more forgiving. Last week some of my colleagues stopped in to see me to do some collaborative planning on the Fall play (The Crucible!) and just from the plans already and then the Spring musical, and then the continuation of graduate school? I KNOW I will need to have as many forgiving elements of my daily life as possible. As far as I am concerned this stewardship board is a GOD send even if it does look a little like it belong less in a high school class and more in a kindergarten one. All's well that ends well in my opinion!

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