I have a mantra that I try to follow as I go throughout my teaching day. It might surprise you or sound like an unhelpful way to run a classroom...but it really works! It can be summed up in two words: DON’T HOVER!
Just like teachers everywhere, I always want to be there for my students. I want to guide, inspire, support. To do that, I used to circle the room constantly. I was always watching over, checking in, making sure everything was ok.
But what I found is that the more I circulated and checked out what my students were doing, the more questions they had. This was true whether they were in 4th grade or 11th grade. I became a crutch. After all, its much easier to ask someone else, than to figure something out and think for yourself.
So, to create independent artists who are creating THEIR artwork (and not mine) I remind myself: DON'T HOVER!
I give them instructions, information and demonstrations and then step back and let them get to it. I find that circling around every 10-15 minutes, allows me to help those who need it, but still gives them time to work things out for themselves. They also seem to enjoy being able to think, brainstorm and create without someone always watching over their shoulders. (I know that's how I would feel!)