Docent Information

Art Docents Tips

Getting Started as a Docent Art Teacher
  • Check in with Office - Be sure to sign in and wear your name tag
  • Maximize Set-up Time - Consider scheduling sessions just after the kids get back from recess, PE, or library; this will allow extra time for set-up 
  • Walk into Class Completely Prepared - Pre-mix, pre-sort, pre-cut, ready to go when you walk into class.  Your time is short and you don't want spend lesson time prepping.
  • Try the Project at Home - Gauge how long project will take at home.  Will it meet the time allotted?
Here are some guidelines that will keep the program on track and also create the expectations for both the parent docent and the teacher.  Following is some recommendations:
  • Meet with Other Class Docents - At our school, docent parents have selected multiple teachers to work with off the full list of teachers grouped together by grade.  Docents may pick just one teacher to work with, but often pick two or three.  If you chose to work in the same grade level, then you may repeat the coursework in all classes you are working in. Decide how you, and the other class docents, would like to work together in a class. Docents can work in teams or individually.  For a successful program, our goal as docents is to provide a lesson once a month. If you work individually you can alternate months between you and another parent docent(s), spending less time in the classroom (if lack of time is a consideration).  However, the team approach gives you more one on one time with the kids and is a lot more fun for everyone involved.
  • Meet with your Teacher  - Schedule all lessons through the teacher directly.  Ask about curriculum integration and anything else they may need from you.  Also, discuss the technology available to you.  What kind of projector and materials are needed for display. What supplies do students have that could be useful in determining your project; example, do they all have their own marker and colored pencils?  Determine the best times for the lessons and schedule them.  Scheduling can be tough if you don't be proactive about it. Most teachers will want you to offer to them specific times versus a teacher asking a docent.  Therefore, be proactive by offering a teacher 2 to 3 options for the month that work for you (and your class docent team), and then coordinate calendars.   
  • Prep your Supplies - Get everything ready ahead of your lesson time, so you are ready to distribute to the class when you walk in.  Pre-mix, pre-sort, pre-cut, ready.  Your time is short and you can not spend any of the lesson time still prepping.  Also, to help save value lesson time, have kids in the classroom to help you pass out materials if you don't have a class docent partner.
  • Teaching the Lesson - Find artist's bio, photos and artwork and display them on the screen in the classroom, or print them out and project them.    Once you have your lesson determined, use this general guideline when in the classroom:
  1. Distribute supplies to all children in the class.  (Again, have kids in the classroom to help you pass out materials if you don't have a class docent partner)
  2. Introduce an artist and show samples of their work.  (5 to 15 minutes).  Use interesting details (like Van Gogh slicing his ear off)
  3. Describe the lesson you have for them and how it ties in to the artist
  4. Walk them through the project, step by step.  If you are able to, bring in some music, it is a great tool for creating artists.
  5. Keep lessons between 1 to 2 hours.  The teacher will tell you how much time you have.
  6. As students finish, have them mount their own work on colored paper sized to fit the art and sign it.  Decide with the teacher if the art can be left to dry in a specific area.  If students don't finish before the class is over, decide with the teacher if there is time for the student to finish  their project indendentely later in the day. 
  7. Arrange with the teacher (or with other class room 'helpers') to 'hang' the art in the art gallery (hallway outside of the classroom) along with the LESSON DESCRIPTION sheet!  This IS the most important part of the lesson.  As students, teachers and parents walk by the display they can easily reference the lesson and concepts learned. 
  •  Retreive all docent supplies - Round up all supplies at the end of the lesson and return them back to the storage area.
  • Back-up plan - If you are unable to teach a scheduled lesson, find another docent that could cover for you.  The kids really look forward to these lessons and we certainly don't want to disappoint!

Art-a-Baloo Supply Room Inventory
  • Bristol Paper
  • Watercolor Paper 
  • Variety of Colored Tempera Paint
  • Construction Paper of all colors (located in School Workroom)
  • Variety of Colored Butcher Paper (located in School Workroom)
  • Oil Pastels
  • Chalk Pastels
  • Drawing Chalk
  • Color Pencils
  • Water Color Markers
  • Sponges
  • Foam Brushes
  • Paint Brush - Small, Medium, Large
  • Water Dishes, and water syringes - for easy water filling.
  • Black Ink Pads
  • Pipe Cleaners (green and small amounts of others)
  • Tissue Paper
  • Permanent Color Markers
  • Liquid Water Color Paint
  • Dixie Cups 
  • Black Sharpies
  • Charcoal
  • Water Color Paints Strips of Eight Colors
  • Mirrors (great for Self Portrait assignments)
Since budgets are tight at our school, we ask docents to use Water Color paper sparingly, meaning don't use on every single class project.   It is the most expensive product on hand and should be saved for special projects.  Leadership suggests is to use it only once to twice per classroom per year.

When Docents have completed their lesson, putting materials back is so important (critical even!) so that the next docent will be able to locate materials quickly.  And please, please keep supplies as clean as possible.  Picking up of jar that is dirty with left over paint if not a treat for anyone...thank you :)

26 Reasons Why Art is Good for Kids
  1. Art develops both sides of the brain.
  2. Children who make art read better and do better in math and science.
  3. Allows children to express themselves and learn who they are as individuals.
  4. Art builds self-esteem and is empowering: "look what I made!"
  5. Art is something is share: it builds connections to friends, family and community.
  6. Art teaches risk taking and learning from one's mistakes.
  7. Art teaches the use and care of tools, and builds relationship to the material world.
  8. Art develops hand and eye coordination and higher order thinking skills.
  9. art teaches open-ended thinking and creates an environment of questions rather than answers.  In art there are no right or wrong answers.
  10. Art teaches children that there can be more than more solution to the same problem.
  11. Art nurtures the human soul. 
  12. 33% of children are visual learners.
  13. Art develops focus and increases attention
  14. Art provides a common ground to reach across racial stereotypes, social barriers, and prejudices. An artist's palette has many different colors.
  15. Art steps out of the limitations of time and allows a child to be present in the moment.
  16. Art is Beautiful!
  17. Art opens the heart and mind to possibilities.
  18. Art is a way to see and understand the world around us.
  19. When art is integrated with other curriculum areas, children become more engaged in the learning process.
  20. Children can share and reflect on their art to learn about themselves, each other, and the world they live in.
  21. Art teaches one to explore playfully without a preconceived plan, learning from accidents, being surprised, getting beyond the fear of mistakes.
  22. Art awaken the imagination and allows the magic to flow.
  23. Art creates direct observational skills, learning to see the extraordinary in the ordinary, seeing things that otherwise would be missed.
  24. The earliest evidence we have of humanity is through sculptures, rock carvings, and cave paintings.
  25. Art develops instincts.
  26. A Van Gogh painting sold for $83 million dollars.

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