What should you expect when we come to your classroom? Let’s go through a project step-by-step!
Jeannie and/or Terra will come to your classroom about 15 minutes before the project is scheduled to start. Chances are we will have our hands full with lots of materials and tools.
We will get out and set up all of the materials needed for the project. Usually this involves spreading out lots of paper or objects for students to choose from. We will need at least one table to dedicate to materials. If the project involves any sharp knives or hot glue guns, we will require a separate table where an adult can use these tools away from busy areas. Depending on the project, we may also distribute materials (such as glue surfaces, glue sticks, scissors, or basic materials) individually to each desk.
The first 10-20 minutes of the project time is dedicated to introduction and demonstration. This is led by Jeannie or Terra. Usually, the students should gather in a ‘meeting space’ or a space that is large enough to allow every student to see the demonstration. We will give a detailed introduction to the project, and demonstrate the proper use of materials and the basic process from beginning to end. We rely on teachers to help keep the class orderly and on-task during the introduction. It is also helpful for teachers and volunteers to watch the demonstration – there are often a lot of tricky things to pay attention to!
After the demonstration, the students will usually be called one at a time, or by small groups, to come to the materials table to collect their desired items. Then the fun begins!
During the project, we will walk around to answer questions, give feedback, and make sure the directions were understood. We really need teacher engagement here, both for keeping the class working diligently and helping with child-specific problems. This is all hands on deck – the more teachers, volunteers, and student teachers helping out, the better.
We will work on the art right up until the end of class period. Students who finish early can clean up and teachers should have a time-filling project ready for them (such as a crossword, Legos, or silent reading). We will clean up all the materials once every child is finished or class period ends, which usually takes 5-15 minutes. If your project requires a finishing touch (such as contact paper spread over a book cover), we often will stay in the back of the classroom to finish up, but we can move to another classroom if necessary.
HELPING WORK GET DONE: Often there is at least one student struggling to finish their project before the end of class. We will usually ask the student if we can help color in something, or glue something that they have already placed. We will rarely do any of the creative work for a student, but we will help them finish some of the grunt work if they are running short on time. If a student is absent, an adult in the room can work on his or her project to get it to a basic level of completeness so that the student is caught up with the class. We sometimes leave materials behind so that the student can finish or personalize their project once they return to school.
There are some exceptions to this general schedule, such as bookmaking, which we usually go through step-by step with the class, and sometimes there is a period of break in between sessions in which we will prep the next part of the project. If you have questions about a specific project, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.