Murphy’s Law in the Art Room

The end of the year is a good time to reflect on what we’ve learned over the last 12 months. For me, this reads like a “Murphy’s Law* in the Art Room” list! So here’s my
“Top Ten Lessons Learned (and some­times re-learned!) for 2009″!
*Murphy’s Law: “If some­thing can go wrong, it will!”

1. If you plan paint­ing projects for “Pic­ture Day”, the kids will all show up in their best clothes and at least one will end up with paint where it shouldn’t be.

2. If you don’t try a les­son first your­self, you’re likely to encounter a major prob­lem with it — right in the mid­dle of your demo, in front of a class full of stu­dents, and of course, par­ent volunteers.

3. If you’re not feel­ing as pre­pared as usual (i.e. you’re “wing­ing it” a lit­tle), that will be the time the prin­ci­pal decides to drop in with prospec­tive par­ents for an “infor­mal” observation.

4. If you make a mis­take in your demo/instructions, and then tell your stu­dents to dis­re­gard what you just said, at least half of the class will still do it the way you first told them to.

5. If you use a glue stick (instead of “YES Paste”) to mount art­work for a dis­play that you think will only be up for a week, some­one will decide it has to stay up longer and you’ll spend the rest of that time re-gluing things as they pop off.

6. If you don’t keep care­ful records of what you teach to each class, you’ll end up re-teaching the same les­son to the same group of kids later on.

7. If you leave a per­ma­nent marker near the front of the room, some­one will use it to draw on the white board. (FYI — Draw­ing over a per­ma­nent marker with a white board marker will erase it — yay!!)

8. If there’s going to be a fire drill dur­ing Art time, it won’t hap­pen until all sup­plies have been passed out and stu­dents are hard at work on their projects.

9. If you pass out sup­plies before giv­ing direc­tions, it’s guar­an­teed your stu­dents will only hear about half of what you say.

10. Just because the per­ma­nent mark­ers didn’t bleed through the paper on your sam­ple, it doesn’t mean that they won’t bleed through your stu­dents papers.… all over their desks!
(If this has hap­pened to you, as it did to me a cou­ple of weeks ago, I have the per­fect solu­tion.… in my next blog post — so stay tuned! Happy New Year and happy cre­at­ing in 2010!)

What lessons have you learned this year? Send me your com­ments.… I’d love to hear!!

10 Responses to Murphy’s Law in the Art Room

  1. Our Cozy Little Book and Art Corner January 1, 2010 at 6:51 am #

    can’t wait to hear how to get that off desk its on my din­ing room table!

    LOVE your list and they are so true!

  2. Anne January 1, 2010 at 10:15 am #

    Been-there-done-that on almost every sin­gle one of those.… :-) Happy New Year!

  3. Kristina January 1, 2010 at 3:31 pm #

    Your post was hilar­i­ous! I totally relate to all of it and I think any­one who teaches art will be able to relate.

    My les­son: If your class­room just received brand new car­pet­ing, it’s best not to do any oil pas­tel lessons for at least one year. Oth­er­wise it won’t look so new anymore.

  4. TeachKidsArt January 1, 2010 at 6:57 pm #

    That’s another good one!! We def­i­nitely have some oil pas­tel ground into our car­pet.… and we would prob­a­bly have even more than we do if the car­pet was NEW! That’s Murphy’s Law for you!!

  5. Anonymous January 1, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    Happy New Year! Thank you for all your great advice and projects!

  6. Beth January 2, 2010 at 8:40 pm #

    Love these. I/m in my first year of teach­ing art and am com­pil­ing my own list like this. Inter­est­ing to see how they are the same!

  7. Kathy Barbro January 5, 2010 at 10:01 am #

    Love your list! Here’s my addition:

    If you have an open cup of cof­fee stashed any­where in your room dur­ing a class, even in some cor­ner just to be safe, it will absolutely get knocked over by a stu­dent before you can drink it. And the amount that is spilled is in direct pro­por­tion to how much you need it (i.e. if you are really jonesing for it, it will get com­pletely spilled, less so and part of it will get spilled. etc.) I’ll see if I can think of any more.

  8. Mrs. Little January 7, 2010 at 8:15 pm #

    that no mat­ter how many times you try and explain a les­son thor­oughly, and extreme detail, even cov­er­ing the ques­tions you know they’re going to answer.… some­one still asks a question.

  9. Mrs. Little January 7, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    and p.s. to any­one else out there— I will be start­ing my blog shortly with all of my les­son ideas out there too, some bor­rowed, some stolen, some cre­atively mine :P thank you to any and all other art teach­ers who have helped me with MY project ideas too! that’s the rea­son I’m doing this, to help oth­ers the way that peo­ple like you and Kathy Bar­bro help me!

  10. Anonymous June 17, 2011 at 2:07 am #

    I’m a grandma to three cre­ative chil­dren (whom I totally adore). I came upon your site in my ran­dom search for art/craft ideas. Once I started read­ing I was hooked, made a list of books to check out at the library, added you to my favorites list and made a list of the basic sup­plies to have in my sup­ply con­tainer. Thank you for all the cre­ative and won­der­ful ideas. Linda

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