Organization: Art Room Tour 2010

Welcome to the art room! This is the place where I spend most of my waking hours. My home away from home. I originally took these photos to include in The Teaching Palette’s Show Us Your Art Room 2010: Organization challenge, but I felt like there were way too many photos to include all in one post.  Above you can see the entrance to the art room.

Here is the view from inside my doorway. This is where I great my students at the beginning of each class, as well as meet with classroom teachers before and after they drop off or pick up their class each week. This helps me stay connected with each teacher as well as get any updates about classroom events and any issues that might affect our art time. It also ensures that I check in regarding class behavior at the end of every class each week.

Here you can see the left side of my board at the front of the room. The board is split into three sections- section one is where I display artist exemplars that we are discussing for the day, demo examples, and our daily challenge- the objective for my art lesson. I also have a poster describing the Lincoln Center Institute’s Capacities for Imaginative Learning. (For those interested LCI offers online courses in their imaginative learning practices- great resource for art, music, dance, theater and integration across curriculums.)

The center of the board is my SMARTboard, and to the right you can see the art room rules, as well as our “How to Build a Better Sandwich” chart, which helps students understand my grading standards and the assessment process. Each sandwich represents a different level of project completion according to evaluation criteria stated in the challenge. This chart was passed down to me during my first year art teacher mentoring program, and it really helps younger students understand the grading process.

As you continue to turn clockwise around the room, here is a view of the front of my classroom. Although I am in the basement of the school, I still have a great row of windows that let in the daylight. In past years I felt the walls were too bare, so I remedied that this year by hanging tons of artist’s work on the walls. Here you can see part of the counter that runs almost the length of the room. We have two sinks, one near my desk, and one near the end of the counter. Below the counter there are storage cabinets which hold my most used art supplies- mostly paint, brushes, glue, etc.

At the end of my very long counter, near the back of the room, here you can see my chart/poster storage rack, the slab roller, and my fake bulletin board. This was a large empty space, so I covered it with fadeless paper and a border to jazz it up a bit.

At the back of the room, the counter/storage cabinets continue. Here you can see the shelves that line the wall, as well as my storage system for organizing our most used drawing supplies. I have eight tables in my room. Each table has a color. For every table I have a general supply bin on the table- pencils, erasers, glue, scissors are stored at each table. At the back of the room on the counter there is a pencil exchange, pens, crayons, markers, gluesticks and rulers. These are distributed as needed by Task Masters- one student per table rotated each week. These supplies are always on the counter for easy access- students have free access to these materials in case they finish a project early, they can use crayons or markers to doodle in their sketchbooks. The storage shelves on the wall above the counter are where I store 3D projects in progress.

Also at the back of the room is my carpet/reading area. For younger students (kindergarteners and first grade) I sometimes introduce lessons on the carpet area.  Students also have access to this area whenever they finish a project early. The middle shelf of the bookcase contains art books for student use, and the wall pockets beside the bookcase contain How-to-Draw books for students to refer to while drawing in their sketchbooks. (Thanks to Theresa McGee of The Teaching Palette for the wall pocket idea!)Hiding behind the chart rack you can also see our life-sized sculpture which was created as the second installation for our sculpture garden in progress and paid for by a Target Arts grant. We are currently working one piece at a time toward building a sculpture garden, however, our school is currently under renovations, and we are waiting until the renovations are completed before selecting our sculpture garden area.

Continuing to clockwise around the room, here you see the beginning of my bulletin board wall. This wall contains one long bulletin board that I have broken down into three sections. This sections shows my classroom behavior management board- Artopoly. (Also stolen from The Teaching Palette!) I rotate this board occasionally. This year I have been using Artopoly, but it has also been One Fish, Two Fish ( collecting fish in a bowl) and most popular was the racetrack, where each class had a race car and the board was painted like a racetrack. For Artopoly each class has a marker, and their marker moves forward on the track each week according to their classroom behavior. If they cross the finish line before the end of the quarter, they earn an art party, where students may choose their activity from a variety of stations.

This is the center section of my bulletin board wall- this section rotates out as needed- sometimes there is a focus on art vocabulary, other times it is a student art showcase. Right now it is based on the big idea for our elementary art curriculum- A Sense of Place. The images that are displayed are from a great calendar of fiber art that I had last year from Quilting Arts magazine. Above the board you can also see a glimpse of my elements and principles vocab from Crystal Publications, and my Yacker Tracker traffic light from Sax which I use to control noise volume in my room.

The last section of this bulletin board wall this year is my color board, which displays all of the color terms and examples that students learn from K-6. I made this a much more prominent display this year- in past years I had the color wheel displayed on the wall, but I have found that it is much easier to refer to the specific color theory items if they are displayed with larger examples. This way, they are always on display and students can refer to the bulletin board whenever they are unsure. It has already become a great reference for my students as they are painting.

Here is one final view from the back of the room, where you can see the table set up and the front of the room. My supply bins were shower caddies from Target.  This is a photo from the very beginning of the school year, before the students had come back. This is the cleanest my room ever looks. Right now it is covered with paint smudges and looks much more like creativity is happening inside!

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About Sarah DeWitt Brooks

I am an elementary art teacher for grades K-6 in Northern Virginia. I am trying to find the balance between creating lessons that are personally meaningful to my students while teaching and reinforcing 21st century skills and visual art skills and techniques. I am also interested in integrating technology for instruction and student artmaking in my classroom. On the side, I am a mixed media artist dabbling in drawing, painting, printmaking, art journaling and digital photography.
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5 Responses to Organization: Art Room Tour 2010

  1. Cyndi DeWitt says:

    Looks like you took LOTS of time planning and organizing your room,and it seems very inviting. I’ll bet the boards that remind students of concepts and ideas also help to keep you from having to answer the same questions a million times! Color-coding things for each table seems a good idea,too.(You’d know for sure which table was breaking all the red crayons,or using the scissors to sharpen the pencils!)A very nice tour that shows a lot of good ideas.

  2. I love organizing, and spend many of my posts talking about the very subject! Check it out! http://theartofeducation.wordpress.com/

    Thanks for sharing. I would like to try the pocket idea!
    -Jessica
    The ART of Education

  3. Melinda Mowrer says:

    Thanks for sharing. Your ideas are great. Would you be willing to share what your How to. build a Better Sandwich chart says? Thanks,again. Melinda

    • wonderbrooks says:

      You can see a photo of the better sandwich chart on my flickr stream here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wonderbrooks/5970616981/

      I have to give credit though, I did not invent this chart! A fellow teacher passed it along to me during my first year teaching. It id one of the resources that was passed around for years and many teachers in my county have this hanging in their classroom. Since our progress report is under major editing and will be brand new next year, I am still trying to brainstorm a way to display my assessment criteria visually, without referring to the old OGSN system you see in this chart.

  4. Pingback: Year in Review-Most Popular Posts in 2012 | Wonder Brooks Artist Teacher Extraordinaire

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