This is my seventh year in my little art room and my seventh year teaching! I love beginning a new school year and making things new and exciting for my students. I try to make a few purposeful changes each year to help things go smoother in the classroom. This year, I'm focusing on cleanup procedures and having my students be more independent during cleanup time. I'm also expanding on what my students can do when they finish lessons early, again focusing on independent work.
For cleanup, I am assigning basic clean up jobs, like paper collector and table supply organizer by colors that correspond to assigned seats. Students can view their weekly jobs on a pocket chart near our Today's Cleanup chart with visuals for cleanup. So far, about half of the classes are really getting it, but some are having a hard time staying at their table for cleanup or doing only their cleanup job. I think all this will take time and practice, but it will be worth it in the long run. I always want to give my students opportunities to be independent and not need to hear specific, repetitive instructions from me on a daily basis.
This year, students will have opportunities to create with drawing books, blocks, modeling clay, white boards, and other activities based on how much class time is left when they finish their work. I want to avoid the quick free draw that ends up in the trash. This was inspired by Cassie Stephens' free choice art area. So far, teaching these new procedures to my upper grades has been fairly simple and successful. I started introducing blocks, shapes, modeling clay, and books with my younger early finishers last year, so I think it will go well this year, too.
I'm excited for the little changes in the art classroom this year and for all of the things we will create and learn.
This is my sixth year teaching and my sixth year in this wonderful little room! I believe that art rooms should be bright, functional, and inspiring places to create and learn!
I love all of the open shelving in the classroom. It allows me to be creative when arranging the spaces and supplies and helps to create a colorful studio atmosphere. I have the tiniest closet, so I have to really make use the shelving. Having easy access to all of the supplies is also incredibly helpful when teaching. If I need to change part of a lesson in the middle of class or if a student has a great idea they want to try out, it is simple and quick to grab materials.
New to the classroom this year:
We do have a few new things in the classroom this year. It's fun to change things up, especially since I have the same kids every year. It gives them something new and exciting.
Two additional step stools. I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier! Of course more than one student can be at a sink at a time! This should make things a little faster during our messiest cleanups...
Palette classroom management system. I wanted to do something different with classroom management and rewards for classes this year. I found so many art related ideas on Pinterest and other websites, but I loved the palettes. Each class gets their own palette and they will earn their paint colors over the weeks. If a class earns ten or more Roars in one class period (we're tigers and the art room points have been Roars in the past), then they will earn a color. Classes earn Roars by doing things like having a great clean up, sharing well, answering questions correctly, and raising hands. On Friday afternoons, I will add the color paint splotches to the classes who earned them. I think this will help those classes that never earned the grade level art award in previous years. I used to give the top Roar earning class in each grade level and giant wooden paintbrush to hang outside their room for a month. I think with this new method, all classes will be capable of earning a reward. I'm thinking the rewards can be choosing their own seats for a day, doing art outside, using modeling clay for the last fifteen minutes of class, or having a snack, etc.
Colorful trays for turning in dry artworks. In the past, I have used their class folders as a place to put artwork, but we were having a hard time with that last year. Hopefully these brightly colored trays from Target will help students find their place to turn in work. There is a different color for each grade level and I labeled the inside and outside with the grade level.
Clean up visuals: I clean up six times a day every day, and discussing clean up procedures that often is exhausting. I try to ask students questions about clean up instead of simply telling them what to do, but I want them to be even more independent. I found art clean up visuals on Teachers Pay Teachers and they are incredible! I laminated them and will post them on the white board with each lesson I am teaching. Along with asking questions, these visuals will greatly help with our clean up procedures.
New mosaics! My upper grades kids made these construction paper mosaics last year. I can't wait for them to see the giant paintbrush and paint splatters up on the wall! It has become a little tradition for students to help make decorations for the next year. I love that I can already have some of their artwork hanging in the room on day one of the school year.
I am an eighth year art teacher with degrees in Art Education, living and working in northern Florida. Each week, I teach over six hundred students in grades PreK through fifth. Here you will find what we are learning in the art classroom!