The Art of Rules

As an art teacher, I’m always looking for ways to adapt Responsive Classroom practices to specialist areas. Here’s an idea I came up with for having students do the Hopes and Dreams and classroom rule creation process while incorporating explorations in art. Early in the fall, we made a paper chain, each of us writing or drawing on a single link something we wanted to accomplish in art class that school year. We made the links into a paper chain sculpture that reached all the way around the room, out the door, and down the hall.

Next, the children brainstormed rules that would help us all fulfill our art Hopes and Dreams. I guided the children in consolidating their ideas to come up with a few that expressed how we would treat each other, treat things in the art room, and do our art work in a safe way. Teams of children then chose an idea to record outside on the sidewalk. On one sidewalk block, each team used sidewalk chalk to write and illustrate their idea. Other students in the school could see this work as they came and went. It was a great way for the students in the class to feel pride and investment in their rule creation work. Plus, the sidewalk rules reminded others how we would like to treat one another in school.

As each team finished its “sidewalk poster,” we took photos to help us remember them past the next rain.

Julie Pyle teaches art at Glendale Elementary School in Savage, Minnesota.

Tags: Classroom Rules, Hopes and Dreams/Learning Goals, Special Areas