TIP #46: 8 Ways to Prevent Disruptive Behavior in the Art Room

TIP #46 8 Ways to Prevent Disruptive Behavior in the Art Room

All teachers need classroom management skills, and Art teachers are no exception. No matter how fun and engaging your curriculum is, disruptive behavior in the Art Room can (and will) happen. You can’t avoid it altogether, but there are several things you can do to prevent disruptive behavior in your Art Room.

What is disruptive behavior?

Disruptive behavior is any behavior that interferes with your ability to teach or your students’ ability to learn.

How to prevent disruptive behavior in the Art Room:  

1. Provide clear rules and expectations.

When you discuss your rules, also explain the reasons for each rule. Students are more likely to comply when the rules seem reasonable and make sense to them.

2. Be consistent.

Nothing is more confusing to kids than mixed messages. Rules that apply to only some kids in some situations, but not others, are hard to decipher. And kids are especially sensitive to anything that feels unfair!

3. Teach your procedures, and re-teach them when necessary.

Streamline the most efficient way for students to enter your classroom, clean up at the end, and everything in between. Then you’ll need to teach these procedures and practice them.

Don’t be surprised if you need to re-teach your procedures again after every holiday and vacation. It’s well worth it. Your procedures in-action are a beautiful sight to behold!

4. Use an “attention signal”.

You’ll need a way to get your students’ attention while they’re working without raising your voice. You might want to give them additional info or let them know they have 10 minutes left before clean-up time. 

Some popular options for attention signals include flicking the lights or using the sound of chimes or a rainstick. My personal favorite is the Mona Lisa call & response

You’ll want to choose an attention signal that works for all the situations you could find yourself in. For example, if you teach from a cart, are there chimes in every classroom you visit? This is one of those procedures you’ll need to teach and practice!

5. Get to know your students and their names.

Kids will be more likely to respect you and honor your rules when they feel known and respected by you. Then you can build on your positive classroom culture by helping students get to know each other, too.

Names can be especially challenging for teachers of Art, Music, and PE, who rotate through the entire school population. Click here for some specific ideas for learning names.

6. Develop a plan ahead of time for how you’ll handle common misbehaviors.

Common misbehaviors include students talking when they should be listening, being off-task, not paying attention, calling out, and clowning around. More serious misbehaviors include bullying, being rude, and temper tantrums. 

Be ready with a plan in place for how you’ll handle common behavior issues. (More on this in next week’s email!)

7. Praise positive behavior.

Praising the behavior you want to see more of can be a great motivator for kids who act out to get attention. Try to give more attention to the positive behavior you see than the negative. Kids love rewards and incentives, too.

Check out this post from We Are Teachers for ways to encourage good behavior without prizes or treats!

8. Stay current with parents.

Keep in touch with parents on a regular basis, with newsletters, phone calls, emails, or notes home. Just make sure they aren’t only hearing from you when their child has done something wrong. 

An occasional positive phone call to a parent can really make their day. And this will help build rapport with the student, too.

an inspiring quote:

“Make the most of the best and the least of the worst.”

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

It’s been my experience that most disruptive behavior is caused by a desire for attention. Giving kids more attention for the behavior you want usually results in less of the behavior you don’t want.

So find lots of small ways to celebrate your students’ positive behavior often! Celebrating doesn’t have to involve a big party. Just try to make a much bigger deal out of good behavior than you do out of misbehavior.

a question worth considering:

What are some small ways you can celebrate positive behavior with your students?