At King George Secondary, we had the opportunity to observe Matt Sinclair’s grade 9 IB MYP visual art class and his grade 12 visual art class. It was obvious that Matt had a very good relationship with his students; they respected him and enjoyed his class, and students even came to his room between classes for support with other projects. In both of Matt’s classes he began with a hook video of a new art media that was of interest to him and talked about the future of art practices with his students. Then, he gave a brief demonstration of an art technique and had students spend the beginning of class practicing the techniques he demonstrated. His demonstrations were short enough that students kept their interest in it, but gave enough detail that they could successfully recreate it on their own. He gave them options for choosing their own subject matter so as to support their autonomy and individuality, and told them how the warm ups would be used later on by giving them a purpose for the assignment.
After the warm up techniques, Matt explained what the larger project for the day would be and showed examples of contemporary artists that work in the media he was demonstrating. Some students in his class offered examples of artists they had researched on their own that might be of interest to the class, which Matt encouraged them to do. During the assignments we floated around the classroom to offer support one-on-one, and answered questions from the TCs. At the end of the day, students shared the work they had done together with the rest of the class, and Matt went over the homework expectations and upcoming assignments so that it was clear to everyone.
Classroom management seemed to be easy for him; both classes had smaller numbers of students and they all seemed to be fairly well-behaved and focused. There were a few students in the senior class that were more outspoken and less focused, however Matt seemed to be able to manage them quite well because of his knowledge of the students as individuals and the relationship he had built with each of them.
For our first time in a high-school classroom since, well, high school, I had a wonderful experience and learned a lot. Thanks Matt!