Saturday, October 2, 2010

Art Room Organization

This “organization” word I have been working on for well since I started teaching. It’s the only thing  get on my review from the principle every year. I get the GREAT for everything. BUT…organization. He knows art is messy, I have a small room that I teach K-8th in, no storage, one sink and limited supplies. He knows all that so it has never counted against me and every year he says I see improvement.  It’s true I see areas that I need to figure something out it. Well my goal this year is hear WOW!

This summer I researched how to organize my art room. Took the things that worked and got rid of all the things that was working OK or not working and got rid of it. Yes… I got rid of my big metal school desk. Replaced that area with with large shelves shaped in “L” and turned into a cubby space (like a little closet) against the wall. On the wall side I put short shelves, hooks, and still working on adding things I need. 

This “cubby” is the place I store all the art supplies, books, stuff I don’t need to use all the time or I don’t want kids and others into. Stuff I use to put in the built in cabinets in the back of my room. Now that space I put all the stuff that I used frequently, watercolor, pencil, crayons etc. I use to put  that stuff on another shelf and of course  all the kids got into it and messed it all up.

Now on that shelf I got a whole bunch of little baskets and separated everything into little individual use baskets. Instead of a bin of markers, now its 10 small baskets of markers, crayons, oil pastels etc. the kids get a basket and put it back. I found little changes made a huge difference.

After the little rant is a list of changes I made:


A little rant

***Not always the kids during art.  The room is also used for after school program, scouts on the weekend and Icon painting classes (they didn’t get into anything), CCD class (my sister uses my room so she used things. I didn’t mind).  Well it comes down to A LOT of other people use the room.

So I just needed to change things around. The reason my room is used is I am easy going and really don’t care who uses the room. I don’t go yelling at the other program about things unless something was broken. When I do I am polite and nice and I have always had the stuff replaced, usually with something much better!

That old saying honey vs. Vinegar. It’s how I ended up with 5 boxes of really good brushes. Scouts used my brushes didn’t wash them. So I mentioned it to the scout leader. Who happened to know the Michael's manager and got me a supply of brushes.  When others use my room they use it like an art studio and use the things. They know if they run out of white paint, I am not going to freak if they borrow some. Because of this I come in and find all sorts of donations or left over items they didn’t use. Paint, gold leafing, 2 boxes of matt boards etc.

It may be my room during the school day, but it is part of the parish and diocese. Space is limited. It is up to me to make them room more usable. ***


1. Got rid of a large desk switched to a small drop leaf desk that just holds my laptop, a paper holder and pencil cup. Let word out to the parents and got a real nice used desk.

2. Got rid of the big rectangle tables. Yes I liked them but you couldn’t move around the room and the larger classes had to squeeze together. I just went with regular school desks. Lucky me they had an extra 24 desks, most had been carved or written on. So I Laminate 18” by 24” construction paper and make mess mats that are color coded by table arrangements. I also have a assigned sets and they put their portfolio in the desks. You can buy mess mats if you don’t have a laminator. I also have seen them made out of flannel backed plastic table cloths cut into 18” by 24” rectangles.

3. Used a shelf and created individual bin of art supplies.

4. Got from Dick Blick  the Brush Mate Brush Cleaner the kids don’t use it but I do clean all the brushes at the end of the day really quickly and they are clean!

5. Put a divided pencil holder on each table set, that holds the basics. Pencil, erasers, pens, a pair of scissors. etc. what ever is going to be used that day.

6. Got a few of those plastic storage drawers to hold the yarn, ribbon, and al those little items chenille & popsicle sticks

7. When using clay I set wire cube shelves up for storage and then I can move them or take them apart if I’m not using them.

8. New brush holders the big square kind and smocks kids and adult size, a parent donated the money for them.

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