Here at Art Club, we have taught virtual art classes for almost a year now. We receive many messages from families asking about Zoom classes. This is what we have found works well when preparing children for a Zoom class:
Speak to the teacher - you should receive a of materials in advance so you can purchase what you need and so your child knows what to expect.
Organise materials into containers so they are easy to find during class and to tidy away when not being used.
*This doesn’t need to be a big space! Cover the table with plastic or paper, or provide a shallow tray for your child to work in. If watercolours near the computer are not permitted in your house, how can the set-up be organised so that your child is able to use the paints? Maybe the screen could be elevated or a bowl could contain the water rather than using a jar. A bowl could be less likely to spill!
I used to say this in the classroom when I needed to check in with a group of students. They would respond “1, 2, eyes on you!” and look up from their work.
It’s important children can see and hear the online teacher clearly and that the teacher can see the child. Even better, if you can position the computer or iPad so the teacher can see both the child and the artwork. Some students log into my class from 2 devices - the iPad positioned down towards their work and the computer screen facing the child so we can see each other.
Show your child how to turn their screen on and off, how to mute and unmute, how to raise their hand on screen and how to react with an emoji. We need to be able to communicate effectively. If the student is able to write independently, show them how to use the chat function to message their teacher directly.
Take breaks from the screen to drink water, even just to walk (or jump or dance!) around the room. It's important to take time away from the screen before and after each class. Even better, to go outside for a few minutes if you have access to a patio or stand by the window. At Art Club, we often try to incorporate some screen-free time during art classes, for example sending students on a treasure hunt for a particular colour, or finding something special to draw for a warm-up. The great thing about art classes is that for the most part, children are looking at something other than the screen while they paint, sculpt and draw!
What are your top tips for enjoying Zoom classes?
We'd love to hear what works in your house!