Thesis Update – Class size in the art room

Hi everyone! My name is Emily Pelton and I am a visual artist and art educator. I am a certified k-12 art teacher but all of my time is spent with my favorite age group…High Schoolers! I started teaching High School art classes in Detroit, Michigan in 2012 and I moved to New York in 2013 to continue and progress my teaching career. Since I have moved to New York, I have taught High School in a variety of neighborhoods like Brownsville, South Bronx, and my current position on the Upper West Side.

Even though I have the option to teach at any grade level, I have always gravitated towards working with teens. They are smart, but still need guidance. They are tough, but still have a soft side. They are loud, but still respectful. And they can be silly, but still creative and innovative when given the opportunity.

No matter what challenges my students may present me with, I want to provide them with an amazing education in the arts. To do this, I ask myself one question: What elements create a successful visual art classroom environment?

When I was in High School, the art room was this magical place where I felt inspired, welcomed, and included amongst my peers. The art room was filled with positive energy and it was evidenced in the way each student was motivated and engaged within their own art making. My High School art teacher, Hope Palmer, cultivated an environment that was safe, nurturing, and educational. My personal experience in Hope Palmer’s class changed my view as a student and it was at that point that I began my life journey as an artist and soon-to-be High School art teacher. If I could inspire and touch just one student’s life in the same way that Hope Palmer touched my life, I would be honored. Every day in my classroom, I try to recreate my High School experience through the environment of my room. I want my student’s to feel valued, accepted, and engaged during every second of class time, but this is easier said than done. In a perfect world, my class would run as smoothly as Hope Palmer’s classes, but in my real world, my classes can be anything but smooth. So, just what is it that is affecting my classroom environment? Is it the urban location? Is it the curriculum level? Is it my skill level as an educator?

For my thesis, I want to research factors that affect classroom environment. Because this is such a broad and huge idea, I want to focus on comparisons of class size on how that may affect engagement and expectations of a class for both students and teachers. The outcome of this research will serve as information to help teachers become highly effective educators.

To view my personal portfolio as well as my teaching portfolio, please check out my website at

Another great resource that has greatly impacted my career has been….ready for this?….PINTEREST! I know most people use pinterest to find yummy recipes, but have you ever searched for art lessons on there? Absolutely amazing ideas for lessons as well as tips for classroom management, rubrics, protocols and more.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s