On a daily basis I have a group of students come down to my classroom on their free time. We loving call each other the “Art Nerds”. These students are usually 8th graders so I trust them to use supplies, create art, ask me questions, clean up and so on. During my prep period today I was reading this assignment and I decided to ask this group of students what are some of the CW’s that you see in my classroom. After a brief explanation of what a CW is they were able to answer fairly easy. They said, “Well right now we are feeling “belonging” because you let us come down here to work on our art.” I think Maslow and Glasser would be proud.

Verbally I give demonstrations in a fun, whimsical way that engages the students in class discussions and dialog. I praise their work and positively give feedback during critiques. When I am trying to correct something in a piece of their art I will first start with, “I really like what you did here, but this area needs some work.” Build up to the negative with a positive. This keeps their self- esteem up and encourages the student to make the artwork the best that they can. This relates to Maslow’s Esteem and Glasser’s Power of Recognition. I am compelled by art and I think that carries over to my teaching style. I ask a lot of questions. I don’t just stand in front of the class and lecture. I encourage the student to do some of the talking. Hearing their answers helps me to understand where they are in understanding the content. These are some examples of how I verbally demonstrate a CW.

Environment is also a big factor for my students and for me. If it is a dark day I put on extra lights. I need light to stay active. I love when my students come in and say, “Wow Miss Dowling I love how bright it is in here!” I think this makes the students feel safe and invited. When I give Power Points I like to add slides that will make my students laugh. I will act like I don’t know how that slide got in there and act embarrassed. When they laugh I know they are paying attention! This also makes learning fun. During a demonstration I will ask a question, and then reply, “Oh my gosh! How did you know how to do this?! You must have done this before!” I like to keep my classes light hearted. When I have behavior issues I am not lighthearted and they don’t like that.

When my students seem bored or confused I find myself re-inventing the lesson. How can I present this better? How can I change this to make it easier for this student? I feel a strong educator should be constantly reflecting on how effective their lessons are. I teach art to everyone so teaching special needs students is nothing new. I look at art as a subject that everyone can gain from. I try to relate to every student, use examples they understand, give clear directions and help as much as possible, and make it fun. These are some of the ways I use CWs in my classroom.