Saturday, August 6, 2016

The "No-No" and "Yes-Yes" Boards

5 years ago, I was inspired by fellow art educator, Ted Edinger (author of Art with Mr. E) to do a "no-no" board in my classrooms at both schools I worked at.  I immediately found the board to be positively effective as students would correct themselves from their corner suns and lollipop trees.  I would hear them say on the side, "Don't do that, it's on the no-no board!"  and I would chuckle.

The No-No Board

The reason why I wanted the no-no board is because even though I want my students to be as creative as they can, my students needed a form of structure within the subjects they use in their artwork.  Too often in my first year of teaching I would see the corner suns, blue lines for skies, and full blank spaces in their artwork.  The no-no board had prompted my students to think about the space they work with and push themselves a little harder.  I have noticed a HUGE difference in their effort and projects have improved over time.  I especially like how students check with me to see their progress!  We are not a TAB classroom and we very rarely do "cookie-cutter" projects, but with the parameters set, the students took off with their creativity.

I have also been asked about my kindergarten students at their developmental levels.  I do not strictly enforce this board in the beginning of the school year because many of my students come in at scribble stage.  I instead focus more on fine motor before pushing their limits.  Mid-year, I have my kindergarten students create a self-portrait for measuring their growth in my class, and from that moment on, I start to introduce the "no-no" board throughout the next year.  By 6th grade, they know it by heart.

Here are the boxes I have within my no-no board:

-No corner suns
-No stick figures
-No stick objects
-No floating objects
-No wasted space
-No blue lines for the sky
-No messy coloring
-No violence (I make an exception with certain weapons, like swords or bows, as long as they are not portrayed in a violent manner)
-No paper airplanes (I despise seeing a paper airplane flying across my room.  They can make it, they can decorate it, they cannot fly it unless they are outside.)

The Yes-Yes Board

This week, I could not sleep a wink.  I moved into a new classroom (with a sink!!!!!), and there was so much to do.  After my first day of setting up, I put up the main board in my classroom, bordered it in half, and set up the no-no side.  I was stuck on the blank side and decided to ponder the possibilities.  Around 2 in the morning, the lightbulb went off in my head to do an opposite "yes-yes" board.  While one side shared what habits we dampered, the other side of the board shared habits to promote.  I had a 6th grade helper the day I set this board up and we both were very pleased with the results!  Some of the squares reflect the opposite of what's on the no-no side, while others help to promote creative thinking.

Here are the boxes I have within the "yes-yes" board:

-Use your shapes
-Color your sky
-Use perspective
-Fill your space with art
-Add details
-Find your inspiration
-Use your imagination
-Express yourself in the best way

I am still thinking of more squares for the yes-yes board!  What would you add?

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