Thursday, August 12, 2010

something new....physical changes to the art room

Wow I can't believe I have had this blog for a year. I can look back on how I started the year last year and then use or not use stuff that worked. I know I will be making some major changes this year, partially to make my life easier and partly for when I need to take leave. These are the logistics changes that will occur. The behavior expectation changes will be a separate post. And by next Monday I will start posting my back to school lessons again.

The changes:
1. We are going on a seating chart. I know what you are thinking...your not on a seating chart, what the heck is wrong with you! Last year I tested the idea of mixing up the kids each week so that they learn to work with different people. After 3 years I know those kids inside out and can pluck them from the line and arrange them as I please in rapid fire time. Frankly I liked the idea and still stand by it. However, I know this method would be evil for a long term sub who is new to the school. I do see these pros's of the seating chart.
a. kids know where to go right away
b. easier to pass back materials
c. can fairly assign jobs based on seat position
d. can make "Sit with who you want" a reward for 4 gold star behavior
e. might make it easier to figure out who stole from/vandalized my classroom

2. We will have jobs based on our seat position jobs will rotate every month or so
Position 1: will pick up any group supplies/ hand out group artwork
Position 2: will collect supplies/work at end of class and make sure table is ready for next group
Position 3: will count the supplies in the central bucket before leaving
Position 4 : will make sure all chairs are pushed in

3. Each table will have a basic supply bucket run, don't walk, to your Target dollar section and snatch up a class set of the lazy Susan supply buckets. I am tired of pulling out and putting away sets of supplies 7-8 times a day. Each bucket will have these basic supplies. 6 pencils, 2 large erasers, 1 pencil sharpener, 2 white glue, 2 glue stick, 4 scissors and a handful of crayons.
The buckets will all start on a desk in the middle of the room, after I give directions the student in position 1 will pick up the bucket, at the end of class the student in position 3 will count the supplies and then the student in position 2 will return the bucket to the center desk.

4. We are switching to semi moist tempera cakes I don't care if I have to buy them myself, I am sick of either having to throw away a ton of liquid tempera at the end of each class or wash 100 paint trays at the end of the day. I feel this is an economical, environmental and time saving choice. Well see how I feel in a few weeks. I will keep the liquid tempera in smaller quantities for color mixing lessons, the middle grade students and plenty of black for outlining.

5. No more fabric paint smocks. I had a bunch of old tee shirts and such to use as paint smocks. They are gone. Our school has a lot of lice and scabies out breaks. I was having to wash all those shirts almost every week. NO MORE. I will be getting a bunch of table cloth plastic from the craft store and making very very simple plastic smocks. When I make them I'll put up photos of how they are created. My goal is to have them be no sew for people out there who don't have a sewing machine but can get a hot glue gun


  1. A few thoughts:
    I do not use seating charts, but use COLORS. Last year I spray-painted a circle of color on the center of each of my 5 tables. I then spray-painted the ends of pop sticks to match. When the kids enter the room, I hand them each a pop stick. This way, I can move kids as per need - maybe I know certain kids don't get along. Or maybe I want everyone at 2 tables because of something goofy I'm doing. You get the idea.
    As for art shirts, it is a REQUIREMENT of mine that each kid have his/her OWN art shirt, labeled with his name. No sharing shirts allowed (head lice is a good reason not to share!). A reminder letter goes home every fall. If someone is unable to provide, the "art shirt fairy" leaves a shirt at their classroom door. If someone's shirt disappears, a warning letter about participation goes home. This is important to me because I do so many messy things, many that don't wash out of clothes. At the 5th grade level, I start to be less strict about the rule, but most still wear them. Most of my 6th graders still wear them too, and of course I ALWAYS do!
    As for the tempera cakes, please don't be offended, but you're breaking my heart! You know how I love the tactile-ness of rich creamy tempera! I use either disposable stancups for one-day painting projects, which I put in muffin tins for support and ease of distribution, or solo cups with lids for longer term projects. I waste very little. I use old TV dinner dishes for paint palettes, and assign a couple of kids to wash them. They love the job.
    I also use a lot of school acrylics, for painting papier-mache in particular. I use the solo cups with lids, and usually put out a broad palette of colors on a central table. The kids take one or two colors at time, and return them to the table when they want a new color. It works well, and you don't need one of each color for each table. I teach them how to wash their brushes to keep the colors clean. Wipe, wash, wipe, that's our mantra. The wiping is done on newspaper or old sponges. Tempera cakes are fun, but it will NEVER be the same!!! Don't shortchange the experience for the kids!

  2. I do love tempera paint itself and we will still use it for some projects, but the time constraints of only having 1/2 an hour to get a class in, set up, give directions, work, clean up and then have the next class in IMMEDIATELY after (x 7-8 classes a day) just makes tempera cakes our best choice for day to day painting.

    1. I love those tempera cakes too. I run around with a squirt bottle refreshing the paints to minimize "mudd".

  3. This post was so helpful to me thanks so much for writing!!