Stop, Drop, and Write In the Art classroom

Crazy CactusA whole lot can happen in just two minutes in the art room.  By using a ‘Stop, Drop and Write” technique midway through a project my students were able to refocus, have O2 put into their brains, meet a state benchmark, self-assess, and for me to use their writing to assess their learning/process/thinking of the project.  Wow, that is a very busy two minutes.  I had never heard or tried this until I read an article from Heather Wolpert-Gawron: Tween Brains, Part III: How it Work It Out In The Classroom.  She mentioned having the students participate in an instantaneous think aloud.  I thought, “Why not try it?”

I tweaked it for my students.  This is what I did:

  • I passed out note-cards ahead of time and had the students put their name on a card.
  • I let them know ahead of time that I was going to shout out “Stop, Drop, and Write” at some point in the class.
  • At which point they should stop what they are doing, drop right to the floor with a writing instrument and their note-card.
  • Then they were to write about what they were going to do next in their project (relates to state standards) for two minutes.
  • About half way into the class when I saw they needed a mental break I shouted, “Stop, Drop, and Write.”
  • And that is exactly what they did.
  • When they went back to their seats they were still focused and went back to working on their project.  I was able to then read what they wrote on their cards.  Yep, turns out it works.  The students did very well on self-assessing their own artwork and what they needed to do next.  If they hadn’t then I could have changed directions and retaught something.

This technique could be used for any project.  I tried it when my students were working on their crazy cactus lesson.  This lesson went over very well for my middle school students.  The students had a high buy in rate because they were allowed to choose what to put in their cacti and they liked trying to make people’s eyes go “buggy.”  I borrowed the lesson idea from the book Dynamic Art Projects for Children by Denise Logan. I tweaked it a bit by not painting; I did that a few years ago and found students tend to go overboard with the puffy paint.  I also added a part where students researched an Op artist and their artwork for inspiration and at the end students wrote about their art.

This is a shortened list of what we did in class.

  • First we did a bit of research on optical art.
  • Next we created designs to go on the cactus shape.
  • We stared at colored construction paper until our eyes saw the opposite.
  • We added color to the designs.
  • At one point we stopped, dropped, and wrote what we were going to do next.
  • Next we cut the cacti out.
  • We added a pattern on the outside for spikes.
  • Finally we wrote a statement about our artwork.

Please enjoy the video of my students and their artwork.


Mrs. Berry


1 Comment (+add yours?)

    Feb 19, 2014 @ 09:37:06

    I like the stop, drop, and write! I generally give the kids a break by stopping the class when I see them losing steam and sharing a couple of art pieces that I noticed, but I always have trouble with some kids who don’t want to stop, mixed with other kids who, once stopped, lose even more steam. This sounds like a great way to keep their focus on the project at hand. Thanks!


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