March, 2017

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Organization in the Art Room

The following query was posted to our PAEA Facebook Page. Members chimed in, and their responses are below for your benefit and organizational enjoyment! I’m getting goose pimples already thinking about the wonderful ways to organize!!!!

“Please share some of your unique and successful classroom organizational devices/structures. How do you store 2-D work? How do you store 3-D work? What do you feel is necessary to always have on the table? What are your art room life hacks? Etc…”

Marita Fitzpatrick of Bodine High School in Philadelphia suggests: “For small 3d (our recent stuffed toys): I have a copy paper box for each class. The students put their work in manila envelopes, write their names on them and I have one person from each table collect the envelopes and return them to the box. For 2d, each table puts their work in folders marked w the table color (tables are color-coded) and that goes in the copy paper box. This box is marked, period 1, period 2, etc. I have a closet of shelves for ceramics and each kid gets a shoe box to store their stuff in. It keeps the others from touching the work and breaking it. Students wrap their work in dry cleaning plastic to keep it moist. I regularly have kids empty the drying rack, sort the work and put it in the copy paper boxes. I keep nothing on the tables, because the stuff disappears and they put trash in the containers. I store markers and colored pencils in plastic pencil boxes on open shelves in the room and number them. I never look at the numbers or count them, but the kids think I do, so nothing disappears. On those shelves, I also have scissors and other frequently used supplies that students have open access to.”

Alison Elizabeth of Lancaster, PA shares her planning strategy: “Each class I teach is a different colored sticky note. This calendar is glued into the front of my sketchbook (which I use for all of my demos, meeting notes, and conference notes). It’s all with me and ready to go at all times.”

Linda Keels suggests making the investment in folding tables from the local hardware store (she uses 3) for about $30-40 a piece—there is room to hold up to 6 classes worth of work (she teaches 12) which forces her to keep it moving and the kids to stay on track for 3-D things.

Eleanor A-Evans For stores 3D work, such as clay sculptures and paper mache on ‘mobile pan racks’ (like the one in the photo- thanking Google image search). Depending on your supplies resources, the cost on the average is under $90, and can be the solution for saving space and stowing away the masterpieces!

Julie Schedin share with us how her students creatively tackle this issue with a little design thinking! “My Crafts class yarn bombs a coat hanger. They own the airspace above their seat, and hang all work (basket weavings, etc) from the coat hanger in the drop ceiling. The room develops a type of “rainforest canopy” but a least we can keep 3d projects organized and handy.”

Judi Treffinger of Carlisle, and formerly the Carlisle Area School districts has an idea for yarn storage! “You know all those large gallon sized plastic food containers your cafeteria gets when they purchase food? I duct tape then together with the open sides up and use them to store and separate skeins of yarn. They can sit on a counter top, or stash neatly in a cupboard with open ends facing out- all colors are visible and yarn doesn’t get tangled!”

Moore College of Art and Design Alumni, Autumn Rae suggests art teachers to follow her Instagram: mrsdow_artroom where shes posts things about classroom display and specific grade levels k-5 . She posts lots of classroom things about organization what materials I use.

Autumn also shares:

“- Container store bins are the best!
– It needs to be organized and colorful for me to function. I cannot stand messes or piles.
– I keep messes at the middle table whenever possible.
– I use my drying rack when I can but I actually love rolling out a sheet of paper and either working on the floor with the kiddos or having them dry their work flat and organized on a sheet of paper. Work great for printmaking each student gets a row for all their prints.
– All my notes are on my Instagram that describe each photo and what it relates to classroom, display, or a grade level.”

Autumn teaches art to 881 students k-5 students. She describes, “We are an emotional support school with a high ESL population and also a title 1 school. I have put lots of my own money into my class but once the upfront cost is paid off then I have all these organizational systems in place for years to come. I need everything organized like I said but also kid friendly. I have created two closets for classroom teachers and stock it at the beginning of the year so they don’t ask me for supplies I need for my own classes.”

Woah Autumn! Thanks for all of that!!! Loooooove the colors!!! And there is no denying where those pencils came from!!

Daisy Konowal uses a system of table color folders. 2 sets- one for work in progress and one completed work. Also, Daisy uses sheets/fabric/blankets to cover her shelves to limit access to shelves.

Sunnylee Mowery of Philadelphia’s Greenfield Public School strives to make my classroom organization methods so easy a kid can do it! Each table is color coded and this helpful chart rotates at the start of each week so everyone knows who is in charge of what. The artists are expected to pass out work and supplies, monitor volume, tidy table bins and floors, and even call each other to line at the end of class.

Sunnylee has clearly labeled bins with teacher name are organized by grade level. All supplies that accompany the project are placed above in their grade section.

Sunny poses the question, “How do students monitor sound, you ask? The volume giro migrates to the table in charge of volume each week. If the room gets too noisy, the students “ring” the giro to signal to the class to quiet down. If we get 3 giro rings, we lose the privilege to talk.”Click Here for a link to the video of the magical giro sounds that have the power to quiet students!

Kim Horan Colasante, art teacher in the School District of Philadelphia¬† shares, “My routine is very much the same as Sunny’s. Each table has a color, table folders or student folders are matched to the table they sit at. I have a job chart, students give out folders, supplies, paint patrol, and floor sweepers. Jobs rotate weekly according to table colors. Supplies are located in front of the room and Barney’s Cleanup song plays at the end of every class 10 minutes to go. The students know to stop, put their work away and do their jobs. The ones that are done sing to barney. (I teach middle school) they dab to it also. It only plays for a minute so work must be away by the time song is done. then folders are collected and floors swept etc. 3D work is done a bit differently due to lack of space in classroom. When Barney plays each table brings me their 3d work and I place it in a special section so that they may retrieve it the following day. Clay is kept in large Rubbermaid containers until in it ready for drying.”

What do you do in your classroom?????