Teachers of all sorts love seeing how others organize their space and visually inspire students. I'm always so excited to see the snapshots that people post this time of year.
As I took time this week to set up my own spaces, as well as working on the new website I had an idea to create a new page to showcase art spaces from all over. A database of sorts that would serve as a visual reference for teachers. Teachers of all sorts could take a look at how others use their spaces and share their own space. Rooms, closets, carts - problem solving is what we do best.
I would love to see how you set up your space and share it on the blog page. If you're interested in sharing your space find more information on how by clicking here.
I started in a new district last year and I'm teaching in two small buildings. The art room I'm showing you today is my own and has just been renovated.
I am fortunate.
There is an importance placed on the arts in the community I teach. Administrators, teachers, and community members are eager to contribute and support the art program and it has made a tremendous difference in what I'm able to do with students. There is also a large commitment to technology in the district. We participate in a one to one laptop program for 5-8th graders and students in K-4 have access to sets of laptops shared among remaining grade levels. Ipad and ipod touches are used throughout the primary grades as well.
I am fortunate.
I know that I'm teaching in a dreamy district, and I'm loving every minute of it.
That being said, my last district did not place such importance on the arts, it did not have the funds or energy to maintain technology. But, I still found grants and opportunities to pursue through my own time and energy that resulted in a wealth of diverse, enriching experiences for students in the art room.
That being said, here is my art room ... one of them.
I have tried a variety of procedures for students to get supplies over the years. I've gone through years where I kept bins of supplies on the tables, but kids, especially K-2 could not resist playing around with them while I was talking in the beginning I changed it up years later and I would hand out the appropriate supplies after the explanation was given. This worked fine, but it wasn't efficient.
I now label my tables by color and each seat has a corresponding number. This allows me to direct the class efficiently and easily. For example, I can easily direct all 1's to get pencils, 2's to get water, and 3's to get primary colors of tempera paint. It takes a little training but once kids have it down it's lovely.
Plus, if they learn it in first grade it stays with them until 5th. You can download the table color/number labels document that is shown below here
I keep all my most used supplies; pencils, erasers, and a variety of sharpie markers on a table near the front of the room. I keep the remainder of my supplies easily accesible but in different corners of my room. I find when students are getting supplies, it's better that they are not getting them from the same table.
I was fortunate enough to inherit this set of beautiful built in cabinets. I keep bins for each table of oil pastels, colored pencils, crayons and markers here. I also store scissors, glue, and hole punches in the cubbies as well, though I usually pull those and place them on another surface to disperse the supplies.
I keep a variety of things that are off limits to kids in the glass cabinets above. This system works well for after activities as well. Students know that they are allowed to use any supplies that are in cubbies for free draw time.
I find that my job is much easier when I remain organized. To help me and my students stay organized I keep all their artwork in progress in large portfolio boxes. They are easy to grab as classes come in and it establishes a nice clean up routine at the end of each class. As projects are completed they move into the student's individual portfolios, pictured below. Read a past beeskneescousin blog post on making student portfolios here
I'm lucky enough to have an entire backroom/storage/office behind my classroom, complete with an enclosed kiln room. Because of this unbelievable extra space I'm able to keep portfolios out of the way, but still easy to get to. My sink is also in this back area and so are my drying racks. I recently added four more desktop computers and, like mentioned below, I'm still working in on the many ways to incorporate them into everyday art time. I have another awesome built in cabinet in this back space and use it to store my extra tempera and acrylic paint as well as liquid watercolors and other odds and ends.
My sink area is in the back room and I keep cups ready to go for kiddos to fill and use near the side there. That blue drying rack comes in real handy for drying things on the go.
I separated the back room into 2 spaces, one that students have full access to and the other side holds my desk, paper storage and paper cutter.
I keep all of my paper next to my paper cutter for easy grab and go. I really rely on the cardboard storage units most teachers use for mailboxes in their classrooms.
As I mentioned above, I like to spread supplies around. I also like to have a variety of stations set up for kids. I use them as after activities or to re-direct a kid when they need a different place to work.
I was lucky to inherit a variety of desktop computers that were no longer being used in the classrooms. I have them spread around my classroom as well as a group of four in my back room to serve in a variety of capacities. I just set these up this past month and I'm still developing my curriculum to incorporate them.
Currently I've used them for a variety of things, such as:
What do you do when students finish early? Besides the free draw and silent reading selections what do you offer your early finishers?
I find that no matter the interest level in a project kids finish at different times. Even with me having the early finishers go back and re-work areas there are still times of three fourths of the class working diligently and the other fourth looking for something else to do. I currently have a wide variety of activities that I use for options when students finish early. I don't ever offer all of them and I choose wisely which to offer, depending on class, who's finished, and what we've been doing.
You can see another beeskneescousin blog post about After Activities here
I keep posters of the key elements of art accesible for the students to see and reference when talking about art. I was inspired by the abc's of art
I'm looking forward to the school year and I feel like the art room is coming together. It's an amazing experience to work in a place that has such a supportive force behind it. I am one lucky, happy art teacher.